San Francisco votes to restrict Yellow Pages delivery


Currently in San Francisco, it is possible to opt out of having a Yellow Pages phone directory delivered to your residence, but that may soon change. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is going that route in a preliminary 10-1 vote — you’d have to opt in to get a book. Many are protesting the move.

There are 1.6M directories delivered to residents of the city each year. Critics say they are a waste of natural resources, clog recycling center machinery and are being made obsolete anyway by the internet.

However, a coalition of opponents say that many still rely on the books in order to find local businesses, and they and the businesses will be hurt by this measure.

Further, the move could hurt specialty books that are sent out to niche communities in the city, smaller versions of the main directory that is of direct benefit to the minority group being targeted.

“We share with many cities the common goal of eliminating unwanted directory delivery, but we disagree with an ordinance that effectively bans Yellow Pages, costs jobs and hurts consumers,” said Neg Norton, resident, Local Search Association. “This is a slap in the face to San Francisco’s 115,000 small businesses, the Hispanic, Chinese and LGBT communities, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and seniors.”

Norton added, “The government should not decide which forms of media have value or work best for advertisers or consumers. When the government dictates which media will or will not be allowed, all media are threatened.”
The measure is designed to allow consumers to opt in for delivery, but the industry sees it as a ban on business directories.