Arguments Against White Pages Also Apply to Yellow Pages

This is an impressive illustration of the value of print directories of telephone numbers in 2009:

AT&T seeks to cut some 10 million White Pages phone books : Nation : TCPalm

AT&T spokesman Don Sadler said in areas where the Yellow Pages-only delivery has been tried, an average of 1 percent of subscribers requested paper copies of the White Pages. Test markets have included Austin, Texas, and Atlanta.

Sadler, while declining to say how much money AT&T would save under the new system, said it makes sense to provide the White Pages only to customers who want it. “We are constantly looking at ways to balance the needs of our business with the impact we have on the environment,” he said. “This is one way we feel we can make an impact.”

Is that to say that 99% of residents don’t find the white pages valuable enough to request? I’m willing to bet that the number isn’t that high yet. Perhaps people didn’t realize they were no longer receiving fresh white pages and were fine with the ones they had for longer than a year? Either way, it’s clear that a boat load boat loads of white pages are being delivered to people who no longer use them.

And, of course, the same applies to yellow pages. But even more so since we receive many more yellow pages every year than white pages. If 1% of residents find white pages valuable enough to request, what percentage would opt-in to receive one, two, three or four printed yellow pages directories every year?

This helps explain why the Yellow Pages Association is so adamantly opposed to opt-in legislation. If people only received yellow pages they requested rather than yellow pages spam, the industry’s distribution would collapse down to only the people who continue to find the books valuable in 2009.

If done correctly, that would mean that the books were only delivered to those who wanted it, which would mean local businesses would only be paying for the printing and distribution of books to true prospects rather than for the distribution charade their supplementing today.

2 thoughts on “Arguments Against White Pages Also Apply to Yellow Pages”

  1. White pages exist solely to allow yellow pages to exist. Now that the books are separate in all markets, the phone companies really don’t need the white pages anymore. The trouble is that the white pages are the fig leaf that allows them to dump yellow pages on your doorstep. Once the white pages are gone people will realize they didn’t need them and will ask why they’re getting yellow pages.

    If the yellow pages people had an entire brain between them, they’d be looking to give every American a free Kindle hard wired with YP ads on every page of downloaded content. That would be their bright shiny new marketing monopoly if only they had the intelligence to act on their long-term needs instead of their quarterly profits.

  2. Ya know, if the White Pages really wanted to shut down delivering those books, they should just label it as ‘socialist’…. Nuck nuck nuck…I kill me.

    But seriously folks–this is a big part of what is wrong in our country, the inability to adapt and change with the times. Even the UK has Opt-out, many years ahead of the good old USA. We are changing so glacially, even the Catholic Church is pointing at us and shaking their heads. If we were birds, we would be Do-do’s, clubbed to death and eaten by the first foreigners with a better idea.

    Yellow Pages t-shirts should only be yellow in the back.

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