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Colorado Lawmakers Decide Not to Legislate

On Wednesday, several Denver media outlets reported that a Colorado legislative committee defeated a proposed bill that would have created laws regarding opt out procedures for Yellow Pages print directories.

A key reason that the legislation was overturned in a bipartisan vote is that Yellow Pages companies – both collectively and individually – have already introduced consumer choice programs aimed at helping consumers manage their print deliveries.

As we told the Denver Post, our industry has no economic incentive to deliver a phone book to someone who doesn’t want one.   That’s why we launched www.YellowPagesOptOut.com to make it easy for consumers to find information about stopping delivery of directories they don’t want.

We’re working on a number of fronts to educate the public about the industry’s efforts.  Generally, when we can have a conversation with a concerned individual about what we’ve done so far and what we are dedicated to doing going forward, we’re able to demonstrate that the industry is working to be responsive to consumers.

One topic that comes up often is how we are impacting the environment – specifically, how many trees are cut down to make directory paper.  One thing that shocks people most is that it is not necessary to use new trees to produce print Yellow Pages.  Directories today are produced from recycled materials (mostly old newspapers and old directories) and byproducts of the lumber industry. Along with recycle fiber, the waste wood chips generated from converting a round tree into square lumber is used to make our paper.

One other important factor that I think many on the Colorado legislative committee considered is the role Yellow Pages companies play in the local economy.

We work directly with nearly three million small business advertisers to help generate local leads for their products and services.  Given the difficultly small businesses face in this difficult environment, it isn’t a good time to legislate one of their best marketing tools.

Plus, Yellow Pages companies themselves are an economic engine by employing thousands of people and paying tax revenue to state and local governments.

I’m hopeful that Colorado’s decision will help increase dialogue about the continued importance of the Yellow Pages industry to communities and all our efforts to be responsive to consumers.

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