Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

People in Cleveland Want Those Print White Pages

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on July 9, 2009

Most of the paper atheists that visit this site love to scream that “most” people don’t want phone books, that they are obsolete, that they are environmentally damaging, blah blah blah.

So AT&T, the largest publisher has been systematically asking local Public Utilities Commissions, which by law REQUIRE THEM AS A TELCO TO PROVIDE WHITE PAGES TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY THEY SERVICE,  for permission to stop delivering the print white pages since their usage had most definitely droppedoff substantially.  You would think most of the naysayers would be hailing this action.  But instead the silence has been deafening.

The most interesting recent news on this front comes from the Cleveland area where AT&T received permission from the PUC of Ohio in February to stop delivering its “Real White Pages” to every household in its coverage area.  Following an article in the local newspaper (The Plain Dealer) on Wednesday announcing this new policy, AT&T got so many calls from people who still wanted copies that it overloaded their call center. Customers reported waited on hold for an hour or longer when they called 1-800-346-4377, and some calls were even rerouted to other call centers.  The company has had to add extra staff to handle the requests.

So much for no one  wanting those print phone books


17 Responses to 'People in Cleveland Want Those Print White Pages'

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  1. Ed Kohler said,

    Ken, I get a kick out of your dismissal of the environmental damage of creating and transporting products to people who have no plans of using them. If no one uses it, it’s pure waste on many levels.

    It’s sad to hear you dismiss legitimate environmental concerns on a site you named “Yellow Pages Environmental Forum”.

    • KenC said,

      Perhaps you missed the content of the post Eddie — people in Cleveland wanted the books. So how do you twist that into “people who have no plans to use them”??? Once again you have confirmed that site name is perfect as it is a forum to call out those like you who consistently spew inaccuracies and puffery about what you think people want, need, or should do, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

      • Ed Kohler said,

        Ken, as Paul pointed out below, I was referring to the printing & delivery of books that anyone with an inkling of common sense would be able to determine are nothing but waste. Examples include the delivery of yellow pages to vacant properties and people who’ve chosen to opt-out. Of course, there are still plenty of people routinely throwing the books away upon receipt, which is also a waste.

        This is no way suggests that there are not people who find the books valuable.

        But it is worth noting that you’re using people’s interest in their local white pages to justify yellow pages. If someone finds the white pages valuable, should we assume they also want 1, 2, 3, or more different yellow pages delivered to their home annually?

      • KenC said,

        Oh, yes, you are an expert on “common sense”. Like when you recently went running around town taking phone books from other people’s property without their perimission, and then like some spoiled child, tossing them at a corporate office.

        Yes, Ed that move took a lot of “common sense”.

  2. Paul Jahn said,

    Ed may have been referring to a Deets post he did awhile back regarding yellow pages being delivered to boarded-up homes (in Cleveland) which included an AT&T white pages directory. I commented late last week as well although the post didn’t show up. I’m guessing it’s because it included a link to his post which may have triggered your Akismet filter.

    • KenC said,

      There are a lot of things about Ed and his site that trigger numerous Akismet actions

  3. Ed Kohler said,

    Ken, I don’t like it when the yellow pages industry litters my yard and my neighbors’ yards. If they asked for permission, it wouldn’t be littering.

    Do you have any issues with the message of that blog post – Yellow Pages should honor their do-not-distribute requests – or would you rather talk about me rather than the YP industry’s incompetence?

    If the industry switches to an opt-in policy (similar to the CAN-SPAM act for email, perhaps?), I can guarantee you that I won’t grab anyone’s yellow pages since it will be clear that the household continues to find that brand of print yellow pages valuable enough to request.

    • KenC said,

      So Yellow Books “incompetence” makes your “common sense” acceptable?? I’m sure stunts like that do nothing to hurt your credibility on any argument you want to make.

      • Ed Kohler said,

        Ken, based on the comments that post has received, I get the impression that my credibility was hurt with people who didn’t consider my opinions credible in the first place. Clearly, my opinions on whether I should have three print yellow pages dumped on my property every year has fallen on deaf ears.

        Yellowbook isn’t special. They just happen to be the latest company to treat my neighborhood and local businesses poorly by not honoring their own opt-out lists.

  4. Wow… I want to see Ed and Ken go at it some more. Both make good points on the subject. I think consumers are speaking loud now and they Yellow Pages companies need to create an opt-in system and not a cheezy baloney.

    • KenC said,


      Arguing with Eddie has become more sport than anything else as his rants have become more obtuse and one sided than they use to be even in the face of the facts and industry efforts. I sense he’s a very frustrated man. I think I have better ways to spend my time as he’s been hogging the commentary here.

      I disagree the site is “cheezy”. First you need to know that none of the trade association involved in the industry have any power to require their members do anything — it’s not how or why the associations were formed. I will tell you that I just came from one of the association conferences and its clear that publishers are aware that they will need to continue to provide and promote opt out information.

      Secondly, remember these books come out annually so even if they make a change today, you may not see that change in your community for a year.

      Third, it’s important to also know that each of these publishers run separate businesses. So even if you only want “one book”, which one should it be?? In my area there are 20 plumbers listed in the Yellow Pages do we really need 20?? There are nearly 100 attorney’s also list. Lord knows we don’t need 100, but who should decide which ones or how many we truly need? I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point — the marketplace will decide who and how many directories get published in each market. In our area two have recently ceased publishing — users didn’t use them so advertisers didn’t want to support them.

      • Ed Kohler said,

        KenC, based on the opt-out failures of yellow pages companies, I think it’s overly optimistic to think that a year is enough time to see real change in delivery behavior.

        The industry does seem to get hit from many angles due to nasty sales tactics, over delivery habits, and environmental concerns. While it’s true that there are many independent companies involved and solving problems like opt-out were not the original mission of the YP Association, organizations that fail to change will eventually die. The organization has clearly evolved to address new forms of revenue such as interactive. Maybe they can also adjust to new forms of customer service?

      • KenC said,

        I think they are Ed even if you will not admit it. I can confirm from first hand conversations with them that the publishers are working to get this right, and they will. But every unused directory you see during your community jogs is viewed by you as a colossal industry failure. That’s a pretty brutal expectation level.

        I’m sure if we used the same measure to gauge the success of Microsoft’s operating software systems or the amount of totally inaccurate crap that is posted through out the Internet, you would have to consider them even worse failures. Yet your very livelihood comes from this less than perfect tech world we now all have to live in.

        I’m sorry that perfection doesn’t exist in the real world whether it be in software or a 1% failure rate for directory deliveries. Perhaps you just need to change your jogging path to get a fresh view.

  5. Ed Kohler said,

    Ken, to be clear, I believe the colossal failures I’ve pointed out have been cases where a YP company would deliver directories to homes that already had directories rotting, or properties that are clearly abandoned. That’s a pretty low bar for competence. Much lower than you frame it in order to attack it.

    • KenC said,

      So the fact I have to reboot my Vista system about once a day showing how tech providers like Microsoft market products with known deficiencies, that you and others use the Internet have spread false information without bothering to check on the facts such as that publishers DON’T knock down trees for their paper, you don’t feel that’s a “low bar on competence” Eddie? Perhaps you need to have those one sided glasses checked buddy….

      • Ed Kohler said,

        KenC, it’s kind of sad to frame your industry’s competence against Microsoft Vista.

        The facts regarding prints’ use of fresh cut materials, according to the industry’s on PR, is 60%. Check for yourself:

      • KenC said,

        Congrats, Eddie. You have managed a perfect record on spinning the facts incorrectly once again. You are consistent, I have to give you that.

        Ok, for the 100th time, that 60% “fresh cut” material is saw dust and other mill byproducts, as in residual that has already occurred from milling activities. I assume whatever abode/hole you live in has a wood frame. Round logs milled into rectangular lumber does result in a fair amount of residual, which in years past was hauled right off to the landfill. Now its being recycled back into paper.

        I was using Vista in a context I hoped you would understand. Yes, that was probably a wasted effort on my part wasn’t it. But you also didn’t deny what “your industry” is like did you????

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