One of the most concentrated forms of print yellow pages spam is apartment building over-delivery. The above shot comes from Kelly Ford, who points out on his blog that his Manhattan apartment building has 7 units, but received 12 copies of the Verizon SuperPages from Idearc Media.
That’s a clear over-delivery of at least 5 books. How much more than 5 depends on how many of the 7 units are occupied, and, of those, how many want a copy of this particular yellow pages this year.
To make matters worse, his all-residential building on an all-residential street received a dozen Business to Business versions of Idearc Media’s yellow pages. So, at best, they hit 7 for 24 on delivery accuracy, but most likely worse than that. I hope Idearc Media doesn’t boast about the breadth of their distribution if this is what it looks like in practice.
Closer to home, Mark Gisleson over at Norwegianity pointed out last week that his apartment building received 60 phone books from Qwest Dex. How many of those 60 books were picked up by tenants before the landlord got around to disposing of the remaining books?
Those books were delivered to my apartment building two weeks ago today. Last night I noticed that not one of the five plastic-wrapped bundles of phone books had been opened. Not one tenant in my building wanted one. Not one visitor to our building wanted one. It was on the porch outside the security door so that means that every person walking by, every homeless person in the neighborhood (and there are more than a few) also passed on a chance to own their very own FREE! white and yellow pages for St. Paul.
This is a good example of why opt-in makes more sense than opt-out for yellow pages. The majority of people don’t want yellow pages. Actually, let me restate that. The majority of people don’t want three different yellow pages every year, with many people wanting no books at all. Because of this, it would be easier for those who still want books to subscribe to the one(s) they like rather than having the majority of people opt-out of the ones they no longer use.
It seems like it would be good for yellow pages companies to be able to go to their advertisers and say, “People really use our book. It isn’t forced onto people’s doorsteps. They subscribe to it.”
Could that actually happen?