It seems there is growing momentum in the US to do something about the amount of waste caused by phone books. I live in a block of 9 flats and when new books come out (white pages, Yellow Pages and Thomson Local) they are dumped at the bottom of the stairs and sit there for about a week until I put them in the recycling bin. No-one wants them – people have the internet or know their friends’ numbers.
Business directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson must be on borrowed time. I wonder how much business that companies actually get from them. I know that in a year of advertising through them I didn’t receive a single call. I suspect it might still be worthwhile for taxi companies, emergency plumbers and takeaway food but I think Yellow Pages only still exists because lots of companies don’t actually measure how much business it brings in and are just in the habit of paying them. They also have high pressure sales people lying about the number of calls you’re likely to receive in order bring in new business. It’s a short term income but one that a dying business is forced into.
According to stop the waste, over 80% of Americans would be happy with an opt-in system whereby you only receive a book if you request one, I suspect the same figures would be seen here. Obviously that wouldn’t go down well with Yellow Pages who are happy to print thousands of totally unread books every year in order to sell advertising but it makes sense from both an ecological and moral point of view.
I’m just going to have a check, I think I have a Yellow Pages somewhere – I suspect it may be from years ago.
…okay, it’s pristine but only from 2007 so not as old as I thought. The recycling just got a kilo heavier.
Update: Link to 11 Biggest Spammers in history where the Yellow Pages is #1.