New Website Makes Phone Book Opt-Out a Cinch

phone books

Today, the Yellow Pages Association launched its new phone book opt-out website,

Each year, 555 million phone books are delivered in the U.S. While each publisher only delivers one version annually, the phone book market is a competitive one, and it’s not just Yellow Pages on the doorstep anymore. In New York City, for example, residents receive up to five phone books in a 12-month period.

In the past, the Yellow Pages Association’s website has hosted a small area to opt out of phone books. But its layout was archaic, and users had a hard time finding it. Furthermore, users often complained that they would still receive the phone books even after they opted out.

“Our ultimate goal is to get it right for the consumer; we have been saying all along,” says Neg Norton, president of the Yellow Pages Association. “We don’t want to deliver directories that consumers don’t want.”

YPA’s new website is easy to operate. Simply type in your e-mail address and ZIP code, and the new website pulls up the phone books your address receives in one year, along with photos.

“If you opt out and still get the book, it’s annoying, so now there’s a guarantee that any consumer that opts out doesn’t get a directory,” says Norton. This guarantee comes by supplying a valid e-mail address. Once he or she has opted out, the consumer will get a confirmation e-mail, and the publishers will get an updated address request to put into their delivery systems and update their files.

Norton says that although YPA was built on the print book, publishers are quickly changing their outlook to maintain value in an increasingly digital space.

“We’re not making any money by distrubituing more copies. The way we produce value is by the way people use the directory. It’s usage-based, not circulation,” Norton says. “What’s interesting about our business is that we’ve changed from being product-centric to service-centric.”

Norton is referring to the way phone book publishers support small, local businesses, a staple customer of typical phone book ads. Today, companies like Yellow Pages offer more than just an ad in the print phone book. These companies act as media support for small businesses, which tend to not have time or resources to manage things like Google Ad Words or search engine optimization on their websites.

While YPA’s old opt-out website was hard to find for many consumers, Norton says the new website will be prominent as most publishers are cooperating with the new system and will be putting the website on the cover of their phone books.

“We’ve been working on [the new website] since October, and from my own personal perspective, coordinating hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world,” says Norton. “But there has been a lot of momentum and unity in the industry. I think there is a general concensus that this is just the right thing to do.”

Amanda Wills was a previous managing editor of Earth911. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaWills.

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  1. Link worked for me. I’ve been wondering what I need to do with this stack of 10 phone books they left at my office door…we only have 2 employees in this office. Total waste. And how do I stop getting them, I never use a phone book anymore.

  2. I have tried for years to get them to stop delivering phone books to me, calling, writing. They always deliver the books anyway, 12/year. Last year they called to make sure I didn’t get it, I told them I did, and they still keep delivering them. No way to stop it.

  3. I called last year to stop delivery of Yellow Pages but received the damned thing again. Today I called up (again) to request that they stop sending me Yellow Pages, then I insisted that they come and pick up the unwanted phone books.

    If everyone insisted that unwanted phone books were picked up, then maybe they would only deliver them to the people who actually want them.

    Request pick up of unwanted Yellow Pages by calling 1-800-792-2665.

    Can anyone answer this: If I have requested that Yellow Pages stop delivering their phone book to me, but every year it shows up anyway, do I have an legal recourse? After all, they are littering my property!

  4. would be great if people who don’t use opt out, it saves the industry money. I use just one book and I can get it from my local chamber…has great coupons in it for the mom and pop shops and services locally for repairs on my home, etc. YP is still very relevant in small to med business and they provide marketing 2.0 for small to med businesses. The link does not appear to work right now, but it is a good idea not to print books people don’t want to use. My mom had quite a collection of old books she was still using…I got rid of all but one. When we have a hurricane down here i at least have some phone numbers at my fingertips for the tree services, etc.

  5. I like so many have tried to have them stop delivery. I get them from every server ATT, Yellow Pages, You name it I get it, some are both white and yellow pages, that are deliveried at different times of the month. I do believe that the opt out is not very useful, although I would love to think that this will stop them from getting delivered.. I live in an apartment complex and they swarm in and just throw them at every door, no list is given or special instructions are given to NOT deliver to certain units, after they are gone trash day have dozens of books just thrown in the dumpster, so the delivery numbers look good on the companies end. We really need to have the industry opt people in to getting them.. Let the companies put out a notice with the phone bill and ask whether you want to receive the books, if you say yes they have an active account of those that truly want them. If anyone feels left out by not getting them they can certainly call and inform the phone company that they would like one delivered..

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