Colorado Votes to Not Create an Opt-Out Phone Book System

Inside YP has an industry look at the recent attempt in Colorado to create an opt-out system for phone book deliveries. In the end, the attempt to create an opt-out system died in at 8-3 committee vote, so things did get very far.

The yellow pages industry seems to be having some success fighting legislation like this based on the fact that many YP companies do indeed have opt-out systems in place:

A key reason that the legislation was overturned in a bipartisan vote is that Yellow Pages companies – both collectively and individually – have already introduced consumer choice programs aimed at helping consumers manage their print deliveries.

As we told the Denver Post, our industry has no economic incentive to deliver a phone book to someone who doesn’t want one. That’s why we launched to make it easy for consumers to find information about stopping delivery of directories they don’t want.

Of course, as we know, there is a difference between maintaining an opt-out list and abiding by the list. Additionally, if lists are maintained by individual companies, consumers are forces to work through multiple phone trees in order to add themselves to the do not distribute list of each company.

Imagine if the do not call lists were maintained by individual companies rather than a universal list, so each time you received a call from a company you didn’t care to receive marketing or sales messages from you’d have to ask to be removed from that company’s list. That would clearly never end.

Perhaps legislators who haven’t looked closely at what believe is that it’s a source for a universal opt-out rather than just a list of companies you can contact, one at a time, to hopefully get yourself removed from this form of print spam?

While the yellow pages industry claims there is no economic incentive to deliver books to those who no longer want them, in practice, that’s exactly what they do when they ignore their own opt-out lists, deliver to vacant homes, and heavily over-deliver to office buildings and apartments.

If the yellow pages industry actually does walk the walk and not just talk the talk, they should have no problems with opt-out legislation. All they’d need to do is what they claim to be already doing to abide by the law. That shouldn’t be difficult at all if their word is actually good.

A quote from a Republican lawmaker in the Denver Post regarding this decision seemed particularly strange to me:

“I’m concerned about the jobs” that could be lost, said Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs.

What jobs would be lost? Jobs delivering books to households that no longer use print directories? Are those good jobs? Wouldn’t the State of Colorado be better off is small businesses were paying for ads that are distributed only to those who find them valuable? Wouldn’t the State of Colorado save tax dollars if the state didn’t have to spend money recycling and filling landfills with unused yellow pages spam?

In related news, Scott Moore recently made a big delivery to YellowBook’s offices down in Mendota Heights:

Hundreds more never-used directories of yellow pages spam.

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