Arguing that local and state “opt-out” requirements for Yellow Pages delivery would cripple local businesses and force industry layoffs, the Yellow Pages Association has successfully fought and beat back opt-out requirements this year in some states, reports YPA President Neg Norton.
But the industry must still contend with additional opt-out efforts in other states, as well as legislation in Oregon that would limit distribution to just one book unless there is a specific request for additional editions — an unmanageable and anti-competitive situation that doesn’t recognize the free market rivalry between incumbent and independent directories. “I don’t need to spell out the impact” of such a bill if it passed, said Norton.
Of equally grave concern to the industry is a mandatory opt-out ordinance that has passed in Albany, N.Y., that would require distributors to be licensed. In passing the ordinance, the city council cited sloppy distribution, a high volume of complaints and that there was no way to opt out, said Norton. “Albany should be a wake-up to manage prudently, or face the consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile, the YPA is seeking to pre-empt mandatory opt-outs via the launch of Yellowpagesoptout.com. “We’ve had a positive response,” said Norton. “But the information is only as good as what the publishers provide to us.”