Yellow Pages pledge to fight on in Seattle opt-out battle


Print media has been among the hardest hit industries by the change wrought by the internet, and the directory business is certainly among the casualties. Add in green-based attacks from municipalities like Seattle that do not wish to deal with thrown-out phone books and you have an industry with a fight on its hands.

Seattle has responded to citizens who no longer want a Yellow Pages directory delivered to their door by opening up a municipal opt-out website that operates more or less like the do not call list.

As far as the city is concerned, it says it recycles about 2M directories a year, at a taxpayer cost of about $350K. It claims the waste is about 100 pounds of paper per household.

Yellow Pagers publishers challenged the Seattle decision in court as a violation of free speech, but the court found for Seattle. The directory group is planning to take the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

They say they already provide a national opt-out website for consumers who do not wish to receive phone book deliveries, at no cost to municipalities anywhere. It says Seattle is wasting its own money with a duplicative site and inferior.

RBR-TVBR observation: The Yellow Pages are one of the legendary tools used for breaking in cub broadcast salespeople. It is no doubt ebbing as a training tool, but at the same time its decline may free cash from up advertising budgets that broadcasters should be making a play for. We’d be very aware of who is still using the book, and figuring out how our combination of broadcast and internet can better serve these businesses.