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YPA and ADP Announce Plans to Develop Consumer Choice Clearinghouse

I’ve long been a believer that it doesn’t make sense to deliver a telephone directory to someone who doesn’t want one.  With that in mind, last year we launched a site called www.yellowpagesoptout.com to make it easier for people to manage delivery of phone directories to their homes.

The site was a great first step in our commitment to give consumers a choice of which directories they received by centralizing opt-out information for phone book publishers in one place.  Just type in your zip code and get a list of publishers, and find out how to stop delivery.  But part of our long-term roadmap for consumer choice was to offer a central clearinghouse site for delivery requests, essentially creating a one-stop shop for consumers to see all the directories in their area and select which they want to receive.

Today I’m glad to announce that an updated version of www.yellowpagesoptout.com will go live in early 2011.

Preparing this digital hub for launch will certainly be no small feat.  We began our search for a technology partner over a year ago, and have engaged our colleagues at the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) to lead this effort with us.  With more than 200 directory publishers in the U.S., we’ll need a significant amount of collaboration and cooperation in the industry for this to be successful.

But when completed, this revamped digital hub will include:

  • A simple mechanism for consumers to stop the delivery of one, several, or all directories to their homes directly from the site.
  • An interface with front cover graphics and information on scheduled deliveries to make it easy for consumers to identify which directories to include in their request.
  • Email confirmation for participants of their selections.
  • Assurance that private information provided through the site will not be shared with anyone other than directory publishers for the purpose of updating distribution lists.

At the heart of this effort is listening to and respecting the preferences of consumers.  Today’s fragmented media environment offers many choices for consumers to find local information.  And while we play aggressively in digital and mobile to help give consumers more choices in how they find what they need, we continue to believe – and  research supports – that print is still an important component of the marketing mix.

I’m also proud that our member companies are producing phone books in a smart and sustainable way so that consumers who want to receive a print directory can feel confident that they are causing minimal impact to the environment.  There are many myths out there about Yellow Pages, but the fact remains that directory paper is made of recycled content and wood scraps from the lumber industry.  No new trees are needed to make our paper.

We will continue to work hard as an industry to improve our sustainability efforts.  I hope our plans for www.yellowpagesoptout.com demonstrate that commitment and I look forward to launching a next-generation consumer choice site very soon.

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