Can the Yellow Pages successfully move away from print?
If so, one of the things they’ll have to get used to is what they, internally, refer to as the “Opt-Out Movement” – people who no longer with to receive phone books for a variety of reasons.
So, you think they’d put together a progressive team to work on the issue. Here are the leaders from their most recent industry conference, Directional Media Strategies ’08.
Session B: Dealing With the Opt-Out Movement
Publishers are beginning to proactively offer opt-out as an option for consumers who don’t want to receive a print directory in order to stave off more draconian restrictions. In Norway and the United Kingdom, opt-out has been actively promoted, yet only about 5 percent of the population has actually opted out of home delivery.
Bottom-Line Questions: What is Yellow Pages’ real impact on the environment? How should publishers respond to this movement? What are the prospects for mandated opt-out or opt-in programs around the world?
Ken Clark, Publisher, YP Talk
Amy Healy, Director, Public Policy, Yellow Pages Association
Peter Rand, Operations Director, Link Direct
John Rafferty, COO, Canpages
Moderator: Bobbi Loy-Luster, VP and Senior Analyst, The Kelsey Group
Who are these people?
Ken Clark: a guy who think Gen X & Y people don’t get it because the don’t look up information in books. He believes everyone should get carpet bombed with phone books because you never know when you’re going to want to use one.
Amy Healy: She’s the one who puts fire icons on top of states who dare attempt to legislate opt-out policies for phone book delivery.
Peter Rand: Founded a company in the UK that specializes in “Door Drop Marketing” and brags about “door dropping” 8 billion print pieces a year including heavy pieces like BT’s phone books.
John Rafferty: Canpages is owned by a Dallas, TX based private equity firm that also owns oil and gas exploration companies. I’m not sure how much Texas environmentalism that trickles down into Canpages culture, but I see no opt-out forms on their site or any blog posts discussing opt-out or Canpages’s impact on the environment on their year-old blog. But they do boast about delivering 7.2 million directories per year.
The only person I’ve been able to find who’s making any sense in this industry is a woman in Norway, Wenche Holen, who made this statement last year:
“It is not good to force people to take directories they don’t want,” Holen said.
What a radical concept.
Of course, since she works for a YP company, Holen still has her faults. She may think it’s wrong to force people to receive directories they don’t want, but she still thinks it’s okay to force people to opt-out of directories rather than having an opt-in system where people simply request them if they actually want them.