Following up on last week’s post about the continuing practice of unsolicited phone directories dumped on my doorstep every year, I received an email from Phil Wojcik, Director – YP DND, e.g. the Yellow Pages Do Not Distribute website. Phil is a former employee of the Yellow Pages Association and holds insider knowledge on phone directory publishers, their business model and current practices.
First, Phil wants to clarify that the YP DND web site has only been live since January 2009. He explained that. YP Goes Green is another popular site, yet publishers do not have a relationship with them. I think that’s where I thought I had opted out years ago. Phil further explains: “We on the other hand, have been working with the publishers to accept our opt out lists. The entire site was designed around their specs, and what information they needed to verify the actual request, including which directory. It has been a very long and slow battle, since many publishers don’t want to take responsibility for their blanket delivery lists and actually manage who gets delivered to.”
The rest of Phil’s email response verbatim is below.
“I will admit, RHD, as well as the other 2 major Telco publishers have been slow to respond to our quarterly list distribution, even though we break it down by directory number and zip code per their request. Given that RHD just filed for bankruptcy, and Idearc (Verizon) is not far behind, I can understand why they are reluctant to loose any distribution numbers. The independent publishers have been great to work with.
The other thorn that we have run into lately, is that many of the independent delivery companies, that delivery the directories, get paid by the book. We have had drivers openly admit that they do not look at the list to see if house number xx is supposed to get a book, they just deliver one.”
In the end, for the publishers, it comes down to money. Take RDH for example. In Seattle, Washington they tout almost a 500,000-book distribution. If 50 or 100,000 households say they no longer want the directory, then they have to adjust their ad rates that the businesses pay, which cuts into their 24% profit margin.
While we may not currently have 100% saturation with all 226 publishers here in the US, we are working very hard to reach that goal.
This is clearly a complex issue and there’s no silver bullet to an easy way to opt-out of yearly Yellow Page and White Page phone directory deliveries. Still, it’s great to learn that some folks such as YP DND and Whitepages.com are actively addressing the issue and working towards ending this archaic and wasteful practice.