Opting out of phone books: Yes, and not yet but soon
Not one but two thick business directories arrived on Vancouver doorstops a few weeks ago. I didn’t think much more about them until I saw Darren Barefoot’s post about putting the new books straight into the recycling bin.
So what do the companies say? Both say their print directory is still well used. But, they’re responding to the concerns by letting people get off the distribution list if they want to.
Canpages: You can opt out now
This is the newer book in Metro Vancouver, but Canpages still delivers more than 800,000 business directories here (about the same number as their competition, the Yellow Pages Group, and at about the same time).
Their Director of Marketing, Michael Oldewening, told me you can opt-out now from Canpages directory — and you have been able to for years. This year, for the first time, he said, there is a feedback form in the directory (page 142 in Vancouver edition) where you can request removal from the distribution list. You can also do that online here.
Oldewening said only 50 to 60 people have done that so far in the Vancouver area. It’s unclear whether that low number is because the remainder want to receive the book, don’t know that opting out is an option, or know it is but can’t be bothered.
Yellow Pages Group: Opting out in 2009
Right now, you can’t opt out of the Yellow Pages Group directory, but that’s changing this year. (As Darren had translated from Montreal coverage of the topic)
I spoke to Paul Batchelor, the VP of Sales for for the Western Region. He said they also hadn’t had many requests to opt out. But, Yellow Pages is starting a program in time for the 2010 phone book to address concerns about the waste of unwanted books.
What about a reverse-onus program, where you have to opt-in to get one? Not something Yellow Pages would consider now, said Batchelor. According to their research, two-thirds of the population uses a phone book on a regular basis, so that wouldn’t make sense, he said.