New Yellow Pages Opt-Out Opportunity… Hopefully

February 2, 2011

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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Yellow Pages, Let’s Make Seattle More Pretty

August 19, 2010

Yep, another post about the yellow pages, but I have a genuine offer for a couple  print yellow pages advocates. More on this below.

Apparently, Seattle has a yellow pages opt-out program in legislation which would penalize those who deliver these books to homes and businesses who have requested to not receive them. A guy named Ken has something to say against it. He thinks delivering multiple yellow pages to doorsteps each year is a good thing.

I did leave this comment last week, although he didn’t accept it.

An acquaintance of mine named Eric had something to say which was accepted, then had another thing to say which was not accepted.

Apparently, those of us who do not find print yellow pages valuable have awakened a sleeping giant named Wayne Mulling who had something to say. Nope. I haven’t heard of him either.

“I will guarantee you that the gentleman (and I use the term loosely) that is sponsoring this bill, has probably never run a business before going into politics, has never had to go to sleep at night worrying about how to keep his business viable, how he’s going keep the people he has employed (whose families look to that job for a living), or any of the other 1000 concerns small business owners have – which includes how do I best promote my business.”

The gentleman Wayne is talking about is Seattle Councilman Mike O’Brien. After about a 30 second search on him, it turns out he doesn’t just hold a MBA, but has been the chief financial officer for a $10 million law firm for ten years.

I’m guessing Mike is very knowledgeable about running a business. As a CFO of a good size law firm for over ten years, he has probably been in charge of a ton of advertising dollars spent with the print yellow pages. It turns out that attorneys like to advertise.

Wayne Mulling, you shouldn’t be slamming Mike. You should be thanking him for every dime he spent in your industry.

Here’s where the offer comes in. Thanks to a wonderful Sun Country Airlines promotion, I’m able to travel at-will on weekends for over a month. Ken and Wayne, I hereby invite you to join me in Seattle to recycle unwanted phone books. Sometime in September, SuperMedia should be dropping off these books.

A week after these books are delivered, it’s safe to assume that books left on lawns and abandoned homes are unwanted. Seattle happens to be an available city for the Sun Country promotion. Would you like to meet me there on a late September or early October weekend? Together, we can help make Seattle more pretty.

Thank you for your consideration. This is a sincere offer.

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Favorite Posts/News: Google Analytics Cookies, Good Use of Print YP and CWU Playoffs

November 17, 2009

To the good stuff:

For you fellow search geeks, Clint Danks from ThinkSEM puts together a great post on Google Analytics cookies and how it effects you. It’s worth the read, twice. I’m still trying to piece it together.


Often favorite Ed Kohler writes about on how phone books can catch politicians in a residential lie. Johnny Northside provides further input on how politician Lennie Chism didn’t necessarily live at his address while running since rotting phone books were littered on his porch.


Finally, lets hear it for CWU! They’re ranked #1 going into the 2nd round of the Division II playoffs. Here’s the bracket.

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Print Yellow Pages Advertising and Getting the Best Rate

August 17, 2009

Last week, I met with a local business who specializes in different home repair projects. When I asked what their main form of advertising was they said it was through the Yellow Pages. Ok, good enough.

In the Minneapolis area, we get three print books a year. One from Dex which is our local distributor by default, one from Verizon and another from Yellowbook. I asked them which particular one they use, they sighed in sadness and said “all of them”. They’re losing money. Ugh!

Let’s take a look at these three distributors.

So, which print book should you choose when you advertise?

If any print book, I would say Dex. They’re the official “local” distributor to Minnesota.

So, how do you negotiate with other Yellow Pages reps who tout highly-inflated circulation stats? Some tips…

  • Negotiate a final price for your ad
  • Conservatively, lets say 20% of these books are thrown at boarded-up houses, closed businesses and to households who simply don’t use them. Negotiate 20% off from there.
  • Considering in Minneapolis we receive three different print books a year, negotiate the deal at a third of the 20% off price.

This seems fair. It’s good for the local business and would hopefully entice the YP Association to implement a true opt-in system. I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone in the YP Association.

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Favorite Posts of the Week – All Local, Pretty Social, and Yellow Pages Print Spam

March 3, 2009

Time to put out some favorites for the week. All are written from Minneapolis/St. Paul folks with lots of good nuggets of local search, social media, and Yellow Pages print spam info.

First, @AaronWeiche writes about Best Buy meshing online reviews with offline behavior. I’m huge into the search online-buy offline model so it was especially great to read. Best Buy’s doing a great service by making user ratings and reviews more visible.

Next, @MikeRynchek writes about social media taking over Skittles. It’s already a huge buzz in the social media realm. I actually played the devil’s advocate when commenting, but I hope the devil is wrong.

Last but not least, @EdKohler discusses whether print Yellow Pages should be considered spam. Most of the replies consider print phone books as junk mail rather than spam. I do think calling it spam is appropriate though. They’re fine for people who use them and advertise with them, but having an industry tell me over and over how to think and that I need a print book doesn’t cut it (opt-out methods don’t work).

Currently on iTunes: Minimum Wage is a Gateway Drug – Dillinger Four

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Favorite Posts of the Week – Print Yellow Pages and Being a “Paper Termite”

October 26, 2008

Indeed an honor, it’s nice to be known as a “paper termite”.

A recent Kelsey Blog post labeled Yellow Pages “Paper Termites” Are Winning talks about an opening session at a recent YP conference from Ken Clark, a widely-known print book advocate. He’s criticized anti-print Yellow Pages posts on this blog a few times, and that’s ok. I’m cool with being a paper termite.

Although he likes to belittle those of us who find the print books absolutely useless and outdated by the time they’re printed, I do respect the guy. He’s passionate about his industry, and I’ll be one of many to say that the Internet Yellow Pages are essential, whether on its own or through their relationships with search engines.

I’ll go a couple steps further. For one, my limited knowledge tells me that the percentage of post-consumer waste in developing print books by far exceeds the standard 30% which is officially considered green.

Secondly, In the Kelsey post, here’s a print book tactic he recommends:

Offering a third-party opt-out clearinghouse to get under the opt-out movement.

Ken, if you’re able to do this effectively, kudos to you. This is arguably the biggest beef of the anti-print book crowd. Even though many consumers do use the print Yellow Pages, many who find them useless can’t stand the multiple print books a year bombed on their doorsteps. I really think that implementing an easy third-party opt-out like you’re implying could help your quest in leveling the playing field.

Other Yellow Pages posts include a Search Engine Land post by Greg Sterling titled Relying on Print Yellow Pages? Most Local Customers Turn To The Web! According to a latest study, search engines now narrowly outnumber the Yellow Pages for primary sources to retrieve local information.

The last post is actually a YouTube video from Ed Kohler, who kicks my tail at inline skating events. It’s more than a week old, but shows a fun way on how he deals with the many print books that carpet-bomb his doorstep.

Any thoughts on the print Yellow Pages from the readers here?

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Favorite MN Posts of the Week – Selective Social Media, Yellow Pages Decline, and being all Politically

October 19, 2008

It’s been awhile since I’ve given a favorite posts of the week, so here ya’ go.

Caroline Melberg from Small Business Mavericks writes on Social Media Success in 5 Easy Steps. There are some great tips and my favorite is point #1: Pick one social media network. In my opinion, instead of joining hundreds of social sites for inbound linking purposes, just join a few that you can contribute valuable information. Who cares if they are no-followed links?


Ed Kohler and myself share a similar opinion regarding printed Yellow Pages. It winds up their usage dropped 10% this last year. I’m fine with those who find the print usage useful, but am not a fan of them carpet dropping spam. Check out the Phone Book Chuck-it challenge, and Ed’s video of returning a Verizon book to the source.


Being all politically, definitely go out and vote whether you’re for McCain, Obama, Nader, or whoever. With that said, please don’t robo-call me saying that Obama is friendly with terrorists. Not cool. You’re trying to lower my intelligence level.

MNspeak has a thread regarding this.

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