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.