StarTribune Writes PR Piece for Qwest Dex

Qwest Dex is working a PR angle on their opt-out policy. A smart move on their part considering the legislation pending in the Minnesota House. The StarTribune plays along by making it sound like you can easily opt-out of phone book deliveries. Their headline: With a click, phone book goes poof!

The publisher of Dex residential and Yellow Pages for Qwest has a new feature on its website that enables anyone to limit or stop the drop-off of directories.

“Basically we want to give people the opportunity to tell us in advance what types of books they want and how many they want,” even if it’s none at all, said Peter Larmey, spokesman for R.H. Donnelley, which publishes Dex, the largest distributor in the Twin Cities. Several other publishers are planning to follow suit.

Here’s a comment I left over on the Strib:

The headline of this story over simplifies the issue. There are at least three phone book distributors in Minneapolis. Assuming you can figure out how to get off the Dex list (as the article describe and commenters explain isn’t that simple), you’ll still receive a Yellowbook and a Verizon yellow pages from Idearc Media.

There also is no guarantee that unsubscribing will actually lead to no deliveries. The YP companies contract out their distribution and there does not appear to be any penalty for delivery people who over-deliver the books. It may be easier for them to simply deliver to every house than to specific houses. Basically, don’t get your hopes up.

Amy Healy has been saying that they’re “moving toward” strategies rather than actually moving toward strategies for quite some time. In most jobs, that would get you fired. PR is the exception.

There needs to be a universal do not distribute list. The industry has failed to regulate itself in this regard.

The ideal solution is an opt-in policy where only people who request phone books would receive them.

Frankly, I’m disappointed with the article. The article doesn’t mention that Twin Cities residents receive at least three different yellow pages per year. Dex is only a fraction of the issue residents face. I know Mr. Meersman understands this because we discussed it on the phone earlier this week. Perhaps it didn’t make the cut because of space limitations. The article comes across as more of a PR piece for Dex than an explanation of the true phone book problem for the StarTribune’s readers.

And Amy Healy continues to eat yellow pages for breakfast.

8 thoughts on “StarTribune Writes PR Piece for Qwest Dex”

  1. Oh, you and me both. That article was SO LAME. It was superior only to no article at all.

    But how could the article HELP being lame? The legislation the article discussed was, itself, lame. Like we need another piece of paper being delivered telling us how to opt out, when phone companies IGNORE our opt out requests with impunity and keep delivering their CRAP.

  2. Well, classic…what is the only thing worse than no information?

    Misinformation, and from one of our local supposed castle of journalism.

    Do people now understand why newspapers are no longer the news? It is advertising and infotainment.

    You want news in the USA…find the bloggers.

    As for legislation–I want Opt-In…or, maybe the next YP will not be tossed at suburban putting greens or gently placed directly in the recycling bin.

  3. I think we should start organizing groups of people to go and dump their unwanted phonebooks in Idearc’s parking lot. Maybe a big enough pile of books blocking their way out of the parking lot will get their attention. Calling them certainly doesn’t – I finally broke down and called them after coming home one evening last year to find two phone books at my front door, two at the side door, and two at the back door. And when I told that to the person who took my call, she couldn’t have cared less.

  4. Two days ago, I received 11 phone books, weighing 32 pounds (yes, I weighed them). The opt -out is a joke. In my opinion, those who want a phone book should Opt-in – and pay for — it as you would the newspaper.

    I attended our City Council meeting to discuss my disgust this and they were supportive. We need legislation and I am going to work with them to do something out it. Small step for the environment, but a step just the same I suppose.

    Do the advertisers actually beleive anyone, beyond maybe 1% of the distribution, actually reads their ads?? What a waste of their money – and how much paper and fuel is spent getting those people to advertise?

    And who pays for the on the job injuries of the people that have to deliver between 5 – 11 phone books per households that never asked font them?

    And why 11 phone books??? How many numbers would a person (even assuming they have no computer) need to look up during a lifetime, much less a year?

    Insanity and in action – it’s time to get sane and take action.


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