Category Archives: green marketing

Revealing Update on Dex’s Phone Directory Dumping

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.

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Dex is a Litterbug

dex litterLikely people all over the Seattle area are walking out there front doors today and finding 6.5 pounds of trash in the form of paper telephone directories from Qwest. Thanks, Dex! You’re a jerk.

I know I opted out years ago, yet I still get litter delivered to my doorstep. So I thought I’d be proactive and find out why I’m still getting this trash. I called the customer service number 1-800-422-1234 listed by the publisher of DEX, R.H. Donnelley. The woman I spoke with from this Nebraska call center said I had to opt-out through her, even though I said I had opted-out online years ago. Although it felt quite futile, I gave her my address and during our conversation she told me they were “required by law” to deliver these phonebooks. When I asked what law, she didn’t know.

I called the PR folks at R.H. Donnelley and Pete Larmey said some cities do require the delivery of a White Page directory, but not the Yellow Pages. I told him I had opted-out years ago from the Yellow Pages Do Not Deliver Registry website and I didn’t understand why I was still getting these books. Interestingly, he said, “Publishers don’t endorse this site.” Hum, so this site is a waste of time? (I’ll update this post on YPDND response once I hear back from them.)

Pete did walk me through how to opt-out. It’s not intuitive, which to me is a bit misleading, but here’s how it works. Go to Select Your Dex webpage >enter your zip code>proceed to your Dex>fill out form entering zeros from the drop down menu>Submit>.

dex opt outI received an email confirmation of the quantity (0) of books I wanted. Of course this doesn’t help me now since the books have already been delivered this year. Pete thinks a zero-delivery request will be valid for two years.

The Yellow Page Do Not Deliver Registry website does have a page that list urls and phone numbers of publishers to opt-out that seems to have current information.

Still, I feel publishers of the Yellow Pages and other directories are snubbing their noses at any obvious, consumer-friendly opt-out program. According to the Associated Press last year, the paid advertising in these directories is a $17 billion-a-year industry. So what these publishers are doing is focusing there messaging on how to recycle the books and grand partnerships with recycling programs. Whatever. Don’t print, produce, and deliver directories that people don’t want. Why can’t it be an opt-IN program?

If you want to help others opt-out, please cut and paste this article url and send to friends. 8ja4m3dkfe