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Saw this article today – more evidence that residential White Pages are verging on extinction.

AT&T has gotten the nod from Ohio’s utility regulators to eliminate White Pages from co-bound White/Yellow phone books. First, stand-alone residential White Pages books will go (many have already), then co-bound residential listings. White Pages, particularly residential White, is a cost center that very few people use anymore. It’s an easy decisions for telecoms and publishers.

The only barrier is utility commissions, which have in the past balked based on concerns for consumers who can’t look up listings online. But that resistance will fade over time. Before too long, expect residential White Pages to go the way of the IBM Selectric.

The risk to the Yellow Pages industry is that this trend will fuel the view that Yellow Pages is similarly obsolete and its distribution should also be curtailed. The two products are fundamentally different and have different levels of utility for consumers (print Yellow Pages has the higher value in case you were wondering), but the comparison is inevitable. The Yellow Pages Association offers its take on this question here.

Update: I got this article forwarded to me this morning. AT&T is also reviving its proposal to cut stand-alone residential White Pages delivery in several large markets in North Carolina. The company tried this two years ago, but was rebuffed by the local utility regulator.

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