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Dex Doesn’t Know

Dex Bombed

Dex once again screwed Minneapolis business owners, tax payers, and wasted Carly’s time by delivering yet another set of unwanted phone books to our home.

As I mentioned back in February following a PR piece written by the StarTribune, phone book distributors may maintain unsubscribe lists these days, but there is no incentive to abide by the lists they maintain. By dropping three unwanted books on my property, they can boast about their circulation numbers while taxing my household’s time, my city’s recycling resources while providing absolutely no value to local businesses who put their faith in Qwest Dex’s yellow pages advertising program.

While Yellow Pages industry spokesperson, Amy Healy, doesn’t believe legislation is needed to prevent situations like this, I suggest looking at my situation. I’ve unsubscribed with Dex, I’ve also tried using every 3rd party unsubscribe service I encounter such as Yellow Pages Goes Green. Their opt-out systems have not worked for me. The same problem exists in Denver, as I’ve mentioned here before.

Continuing to deliver yellow pages to people who no longer plan to use them is a nasty circulation inflation tactic that will burn advertiser’s remaining trust in the industry. This self-destructive behavior calls for legislation since the industry seems incapable of changing on its own.

21 thoughts on “Dex Doesn’t Know”

  1. While I’m on board for more stringent opt-out regulations for phone companies, delivering to vacant properties should be illegal starting today. Both foreclosed houses on my block had phonebooks delivered last month — despite the fact the properties were clearly vacant (front door plastered with foreclosure docs, boarded up windows, etc.).

  2. For the past 6-8 weeks, there has been a pile of about 30 phone books in the front entry of my apartment building. I’m pretty sure the only time anyone has taken one was when they needed something to prop the door open.

  3. Phone books provide a valuable service. If you disagree, then it’s off to the re-education camp for you. You NEED Dex, you NEED Verizon. Trust me, but more importantly, trust the Yellow Pages.

  4. This is such a strange cause you’ve taken up, Ed. I understand why it’s inconvenient & annoying to keep receiving the books when you don’t want them. I also understand the upstream and downstream undesirable consequences (killing more trees, wasted time & energy, overwhelming minneapolis recycling resources, filling landfills, etc.). So keeping unwanted phone books from ever being produced in the first place is a really good thing. But won’t the market do this on its own?

    If the portion of phone books that end up in the dumpster unused is really that significant, won’t business owners stop buying ads, forcing phone book producers to produce fewer? In other words, isn’t this just a temporary problem? The internet has only been a reasonable advertising location for 10 years. For the previous 70, phone books were the real deal. So isn’t this just part of the paper vs. digital struggle existing in all industries that will sort itself out as more and more people gravitate to digital advertising? Eventually, legislation or not, phone books will disappear, won’t they?

  5. Reuben, I think one of the best things the yellow pages industry has going for it is the annual cycle. Industries with faster advertising cycles like newspapers provide more immediate results to advertisers, so businesses can figure out faster whether they’re getting a good return on their advertising investments.

    With YP, advertisers have to decide for an entire year, which makes testing more difficult. They also are penalized if they choose to scale back their ads. For example, an advertiser buying a full-page ad who pulls back to a 1/2 page ad will appear behind all of the legacy 1/2 page ads, making it very punitive to experiment.

    Yes, things will correct over time. Two of the major YP companies are currently in Chapter 11. It will be interesting to see how long they last, or if they’re able to reinvent themselves by following the client’s customers to new media.

  6. This issue is about property rights. I believe that I have the right to decide what is left on my door step. People can debate the merits of the books all they want, but that is beside the point.

    Here are two R.H. Donnelley (dex) MN office locations. I suggest you ‘recycle’ your new phone books with them.

    2805 Dodd Road, Ste 100
    Eagan, MN 55121

    Maple Grove
    6401 Sycamore Lane North
    Maple Grove, MN 55369


  7. I’m 200% on board with your gripes, complaints and your logical reasoning for them. I’m following this closely and will do everything I can to push forward any movement to correct these problems. Thanks Ed! – Megan G – Jordan – NoMi

  8. Maybe we should all band together and collect our nuisance phone books, then send a delegation to R.H. Donnelley’s corporate headquarters (the Chapter 11 parent company to Dex) to return their unwanted goods?

    Corporate Hdqtrs
    1001 Winstead Dr
    Cary, NC 27513
    (919) 297-1600
    (866) 527-4550

    Just a thought.

  9. Agreed. Phone books should be delivered only by request, much like other “controlled” circulation publications that require opt-in, or at least the effort to pick up and carry away the publication from a public place. As to effective advertising, the yellow pages will become extinct sooner or later. Just wait. Re: white pages, my beef is that online people searches, despite the fact that they advertise as ‘free’, require payment and registration, both of which I’m reluctant to provide. And cell phone directories don’t exist, yet.

  10. The problem with receiving unwanted yellowpages has more to do with the distribution compensation method. If delivery people were “charged” or had a holdback amount that they didn’t recieve if they delivered to people on the opt out list, then you would see changes.

    Unfortunately I would assume that they are given extra books and instead of actually looking up which people opted out or in…they shotgun blast the neighborhood, stacking books at every deliverable address.

    In the words of a venerable former coach “they aint got time to bleed”

  11. Ever see the old Truth tobacco ad where they piled up 1800 body bags outside the office of a Tobacco company? Would love to pile up hundreds of phonebooks outside dex, take a photo and do a little press release about the stunt.

  12. Ed –

    Back in May, you wrote it was “great to see Dex making an effort” – and we appreciate you noticed. We ARE making an effort and want to respect consumers’ requests, so please help us help you.

    If you used Select Your Dex to opt out, please contact me at 913-491-7066 or maggie.stonecipher@rhd.com so we can work through this issue with you directly. The Select Your Dex program has been in place for about a year now and has been working very well across our 28-state region, but we need to know about it if we didn’t get it right on your order so we can fix things for you and continue to get better for all our deliveries. Even though many people still use their print directories, Dex does not want to force the books on those who prefer not to receive them.

    I also want to mention Dex doesn’t take any third-party opt-out requests like those you refer to in your post. We have no way to verify if the names on the lists provided were actually at the request of consumer or if the source is reputable, but we’ll gladly accept requests at http://www.DexKnows.com/SelectYourDex.

    Maggie Stonecipher
    AVP – Dex Print & Delivery Services

  13. @maggie – does Dex have a policy about delivering to foreclosed houses?

    (btw, major kudos for finding this post and replying)

  14. Dear Maggie Stonecipher,

    I value free speech, and I’m about to use it right now.

    How about you make an effort to jump in a lake, you earth-wasting Dex harlot?

  15. Pingback: saintpaulitan » Blog Archive » I Have Found a Use for All Those Yellow Pages
  16. I hope you guys didn’t recycle those books! I could use them as weight in my backpack as I train for my Glacier NP trip.

  17. I received my Dex books a couple of days ago… Did anyone have any success to unsubscribe from the service???

  18. Pingback: Print Yellow Pages Advertising and Getting the Best Rate « Local MN Blog

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