New Yellow Pages Opt-Out Opportunity… Hopefully

This is nice. Apparently, there is a new site to opt-out of the yellow pages you receive. There have been ways for a few years, but apparently this updated site is different for two reasons:

  1. This one is an all-in-one spot to opt-out of all directories. (I thought they already had this but maybe I’m wrong) Here’s an example for the 55401 zip code.
  2. The print book folks say this one actually works. Opt-out has been available for a few years but so far the word hasn’t really gotten to the people who actually deliver the books.

Here are two tips when filling out the opt-out form since almost all fields are required:

  1. For your required email field, use a Yahoo address. I’m guessing their main reason your email is required is for confirmation purposes. If they also decide to use your email to sell you advertising, a Yahoo email is good at filtering out spam.
  2. For your required phone field, use a Google Voice number. I’m guessing their main reason your phone number is required is for confirmation purposes. If they also decide to use your phone number to sell you advertising, a Google Voice number is good at blocking callers.

Condemned homes unfortunately have no way to opt out.

Not sure what their condo and apartment opt-out policy will be.

I’m curious how many people will use this service. Although the opt-out site was slowed down considerably yesterday, I think the percentage of households who use this will be low for a few reasons:

  • Consumers may not want to provide their email or phone number (see tips above)
  • Some people just don’t care and automatically trash or recycle the book
  • Condemned homes and condo/apartments may not be applicable (see above pictures)
  • Some people young and old happily use the print yellow pages

As a consumer, do you welcome the opt-out site? As an advertiser, do you also welcome this? It’s at least a start to make circulation stats more realistic.

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10 Responses to New Yellow Pages Opt-Out Opportunity… Hopefully

  1. I get three different yellow pages delivered where I am living. Nice to have the option to save some trees.

  2. Ken C says:

    @LMN: publishers need a consumers email address and telephone number to sell them advertising? Seriously.

    @Michael: This effort isn’t going to save a single tree. The Yellow Pages industry doesn’t knock down any trees for its paper!!! Let me repeat that – they don’t need to cut any trees for their paper supply.

    Currently, on average, most publishers are using about 40% recycled material (from the newspapers and magazines you are recycling curbside), and the other 60% comes from wood chips and waste products of the lumber industry. If you take a round tree and make square or rectangular lumber from it, you get plenty of chips and other waste. Those by-products make up the other 60% of the raw material needed. Note that these waste products created in lumber milling would normally end up in landfills.

    For more information go here: http://www.yptalk.com/archive.cfm?ID=390&CatID=3

  3. Paul Jahn says:

    Yes, Ken. The above tips are for people who proactively choose to not receive yellow pages, but are hesitant because they’re providing a required email and phone number that may or may not be used to sell them advertising in a book they don’t want in the first place.

    Also, congrats on your attempted belittling skills. I see you haven’t lost that touch. Keep it up!

  4. Ken C says:

    It’s “belittling” to question your comment that a publisher would sell advertising to a consumer that is looking for information??? That makes no sense PJ.

  5. Paul Jahn says:

    If a consumer proactively fills out an opt-out form, they are specifically not looking for information from that publisher. You wouldn’t agree?

  6. Ken Clark says:

    PJ: I think you have this a little backwards. The publishers are asking for that info so on an annual basis they can recontact those who have opted out to verify they still don’t want a directory. Publishers know that depending on the area, a high percentage of people do move on an annual basis. If someone doesn’t want a book, fine, they won’t deliver one. But if that person has moved on, it shouldn’t prevent the new occupant from receiving a book if they want one. By suggesting to your readers that they enter fictitious data, you are setting them up to receive books next year, as the publisher will assume the person that originally said they didn’t want a book has moved. Hence, people will assume the system doesn’t work when the directories do show up.

    The publishers have no other use for that contact information. There is nothing they would “sell” to that directory recipient as your post suggests.

  7. Paul Jahn says:

    Now we’re talking, Ken. Thank you for your original thoughts on this. I’m not much for the copy/paste tree stuff debate you gave Michael.

    Let’s be clear as you like to throw out claims loosely. I selected my words very carefully when I wrote this post as I don’t know if yellow page reps would use these numbers to sell advertising or not. Common sense says they would not, but we’re talking about a “sell first” industry. I trust you when you say they don’t.

    Yahoo email and Google Voice are not fictitious. If someone from the yellow pages calls me just to ask if I want to remain on the opt-out list just as you claim, I would not block that number. At anytime a sales rep calls to sell an ad, I would block that number.

    Now lets see if this opt-out program actually works. It doesn’t have the best track record. What’s the tagline this time? “This time we mean it?” :)

  8. In Denmark yellowpages are out of date only tv and internet counts

  9. All Yellow Pages publishers and IYPs are so very desperate these days. This is a great post and it brings up some conflicting issues for the Yellow Pages people. They sell advertising based on how many books they distribute, and how many visits their web properties produce. “Opting Out” is like purposely cutting holes in their pockets. Don’t trust that they are all excited about making sure you don’t receive your book. Do you think that the drivers in their ’84 toyota pickups who actually deliver the books are going to take the time to scroll through a printout of who opted out at an apartment building? Or on any street? It’s just not going to happen. Yellow Pages executives are focused on one thing only – how to stop the bleeding – and how to postpone the inevitable death of their business model. The idea that they will put a ton of effort into keeping books off your porch is idealistic (in my opinion).

  10. Paul Jahn says:

    You nailed it Jeffrey. If the print yellow pages were actually OK with opt-out, they would’ve already honored their own lists they’ve had for 2+ years.

    If they’d at least stop delivering to boarded up, condemned and abandoned homes, their arguments would be less laughable.

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