Last Sunday, before returning an unsolicited Verizon phone book to Idearc Media in Eagan, I hopped online to unsubscribe. It took some digging, but I eventually found a contact email that seemed appropriate at Idearc. I sent them this email:
Unfortunately, I received an email back from Idearc six days later where Amber decided to pass the buck on helping me get off their distribution list.
Notice that Amber is emailing me from an Idearc.com email address, so it would have been nice if she could have forwarded my email to an appropriate department. That didn’t happen.
So I called the number she suggested. No answer and no option for leaving a message.
Then I tried the link she suggested. The form I ended up at has many options. One is for compliments, but that didn’t seem appropriate. Another was for Yellow – White Pages concerns and complaints. That sounds right:
But it turns out that the form is designed for advertisers rather than real people and requires business contact information to fill out.
Out of curiosity, I looked up how their stock (IAR) is doing:
I don’t know if this is a rule, but generally companies who give higher priority to Investors than Customers on their websites are going to have customer service issues. Funny how that may translate into problems for investors, eh?
Unsubscribing from phone books it proving to be a much more difficult project than I thought. They really want to do everything they can to make you accept their litter.
This post is also available in video form here:
While on the subject of Yellow Pages, I decided to check in with the industry’s crotchetiest lobbyist, Ken Clark, who on a blog called Yellow Pages Environmental Forum (seriously, that’s what he calls it) he explains how kids these days are missing out on valuable advertising by rejecting the use of printed business directories in favor the web:
I have long argued that it is far quicker to grab a print Yellow Pages to find what you are looking for than to be clicking and surfing away thru myriads of websites. When you use a book you also get a quick visual indication (subjective as it is) about the viability of the business you are looking at – those print ads aren’t free and if that company has bought a half page ad this is probably not some fly-by-night, Johnny come lately company.
Good luck with that argument, Mr. Clark. I’m sure Gen-Y types will respond positively to a “you don’t get it” argument and wake up to the value of heavy printed directories.
As long as you’re here, Ken, I have three quick questions for you:
1. How can people who don’t want phone books get off phone book distribution lists?
2. Wouldn’t it be better for advertisers to send phone books to only people who want them? It seems like that would substantially decrease the printing and distribution costs advertisers supplement with their ad spends. Correct?