Monday, July 27, 2009

Yellow Pages Pile Up

I wish I had had a camera with me when I drove past the local AT&T branch office today. The 4 big recycle barrels were piled high with orange plastic bags filled with brand-new Yellow Pages directories, delivered just today around my town. In addition, two piles almost as high as my chin were next to the barrels on the building's front lawn. [UPDATE: Photo above was taken 24 hrs later. The piles are neater and smaller but you can still see how many orange bags are there, in addition to what look like outdated phone books from years past.]

It was clear, based on this evidence of hundreds of new YP books piled on AT&T's property within 24 hours [and 48 hrs] after distribution, that many people in my town no longer want these directories.

Here's my suggestion for AT&T (and other carriers that distribute YPs): Adopt an opt-in policy ASAP. Increasingly, the world is opt-in instead of opt-out, so get with the program. Save a forest (and lots of vehicle emissions) by sending out yellow postcards asking for permission to deliver. No permission, no YP delivery.

I recognize that this will threaten YP advertising revenue, but it's time to change the business model. In fact, since AT&T's YP site offers mobile options, why not make the case that forward-thinking advertisers should be involved with mobile YP listings? Just asking.

Next year I don't want to see YP books piled high at the nearby AT&T building. If they're not wanted, don't print and deliver 'em. Think green.

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