The U.S. directory industry’s two leading trade groups (YPA and ADP) have joined forces to promote a Web site, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, that allows consumers to search for opt-out information on local publishers by typing in their ZIP code. This site is part of the industry’s response to a growing movement to demand the right not to have a phone book delivered if you don’t want one. The press release announces the launch of the site, though it has been available for some time.
Also, many individual publishers have created their own opt-out Web sites, with R.H. Donnelley’s Select Your Dex among the most robust.
The opt-out movement has gained some traction, notably with an ordinance passed in Albany, New York, that substantially restricts phone book delivery. The opt-out movement combines environmental concerns with a growing sense of consumer empowerment, no doubt spurred on by a glut of competitive directories.
An industry consensus seems to have built around opt out as a fair and manageable alternative to the dreaded opt in, which would require the express permission of consumers to take a phone book delivery. Opt in would be a substantial blow to the industry and we believe would have the biggest impact on smaller competitive publishers. For the most part, the industry has managed to stave off the most odious proposals, but the task seems to be getting more difficult.