Burien Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon One Of Three Behind New Yellow Pages ‘Opt-Out’ Bill

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Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon. Photo by Mark Neuman.

Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien is one of three state lawmakers who are making it easier for people to opt out of receiving yellow pages and phone books.

Along with Reps. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle and Marko Liias of Edmonds, Fitzgibbon says the state’s largest directory publishers will direct consumers to an already-existing website (www.YellowPagesOptOut.com) where they can choose to stop receiving the yellow pages.

Directories like Berry, Dex, SuperMedia, and YellowBook will also be required to put the website address on the upper right corner of their publications, notifying users of their ability to opt out, Carlyle said.

According to the website banthephonebook.org:

An estimated 5 million trees are cut down each year to create white pages phone books and that according to a recent survey conducted with Harris Interactive, only 22% of recipients recycle when disposing of them, which explains why approximately 165,000 tons of waste end up in landfills?* In addition, our own survey shows that almost 75% of consumers are completely unaware of the environmental and financial impact in printing, delivering and recycling these books. Given that you likely use online directories, social networks and mobile phone applications to find the contact information you need, it simply does not make sense to have the white pages phone books forcefully delivered to us every year.

“Washington residents who do not want a phone book may not know there is an easy process to manage directory delivery to their homes,” said Liias. “We’ve called on Yellow Pages publishers to show consumers that their Yellow Pages opt-out site is simple, effective, and generates results.

“Yellow Pages companies have nothing to gain by delivering unwanted phone directories,” said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association, a trade organization that represents Yellow Pages companies. “I applaud Reps. Carlyle, Liias, and Fitzgibbon for working closely with publishers to get the word out about this valuable resource. Through our joint efforts, we can ensure directory delivery is customized to each household’s preference.”

The lawmakers are now planning to focus their attention on opt out options for white pages directories. An outdated regulation requires businesses to distribute the white pages to every customer regardless of whether the customer wants the white pages.  With the support of businesses, local governments, and environmental interests, the lawmakers are urging the Utilities & Transportation Commission to modernize this rule.

“Not everyone needs the white pages anymore,” said Fitzgibbon. “Consumers have many other choices for locating a residential phone number.”

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9 Responses to “Burien Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon One Of Three Behind New Yellow Pages ‘Opt-Out’ Bill”
  1. wheels says:

    That is just wrong on so many levels. In the first place, it out to be illegal to dump your f**king phone books in my driveway in the first place. A law to opt out is not the answer. Secondly, when you go to the opt out web page, they ask you to register. So, you have to give them your information, and give them more ways to spam you, in order to get them to stop sending you something you never asked for in the first place.

    If I started littering your yard, and when you asked me to stop I required you to give me personal information in exchange for stopping the litter, I would probably be charged with multiple crimes. What those phone book companies do is criminal, stupid, and wasteful. Most of all, they are ripping off the businesses who pay for the ads in the yellow pages because most people will never see those ads.

    Here’s a more practical solution: after the next wave of unwanted phone books appear in our driveways, every citizen of Burien who thinks this dumping of phone books should be stopped ought to pick up that bag of phone books and toss it on the doorstep of City Hall. When a mountain of unwanted phone books blocks the entrance to Mike Martin’s office, then something real might be done about this problem. This new law that Fitzgibbon is so proud of is a joke.

    • Rick says:

      I’m also tired of the phone books showing up on my door step. I usually walk 20 feet and chuck it in to the recycling bin. Twenty and more years they served a purpose and continue to do so for a few however for the average individual today it seems to be preferable to use the Internet to look up a business or individual. I realize that some may continue to depend on them but I would have to assume that most don’t.

      Opting out should indeed be easy by a simple phone call. I have to admit that there is one legitimate use for phone books……..when we run out of TP. I always begin with the A’s….especially the attorney section..

      • Coverofnight says:

        “…one legitimate use for phone books……..when we run out of TP. I always begin with the A’s….especially the attorney section.”

        Love it! The best comment I’ve seen yet on the blog……I’ll use it!

  2. RW says:

    Quit your whining. I still use yellowpages. Most of my friends (40&up) ADMIT to using yellowpages, some more than others along with google, etc. When I get 50 out of state search results on google for something that should be local, and end up with a florist or plumber based out of Texas or somewhere out of state, I don’t feel too great about using them as I know that even if they contract with someone local, they are getting a cut. When I open the yellowpages and see 5 or 6 local businesses, I feel that they have some skin in the game and I know that they are reputable businesses. Add up your junk mail over the course of a year and then tell me what weighs more.

    • wheels says:

      If people want phone books, they could go to some central location and get them for free, or OPT IN for delivery. You shouldn’t have to opt out.

      And just so I understand, when I point out the unfairness of a system that allows a company to litter on my property at the expense of the environment, that’s whining, but when you say Google gives you 50 wrong results (probably because you don’t know how to Google), that’s not whining, right? Just want to make sure I understand your logic.

      • Rick says:

        @RW….I wasn’t whining. I did state in my post that some people continue to use the phone books. You know….that’s OK. I just find it easier to use Google to look up a service and/or individuals. Phone books are limited in terms of the info they provide. What happens when one wants to locate a services such as hotels, restaurants, or activities outside the area you reside in such as Lynnwood for example. I Googled “florists in Burien Washington.” before writing this. Took me about 5 seconds to type, hit enter, and received numerous helpful results in .23 seconds. Try it.

        Over and out on this subject

        P.S. I can’t add up the junk mail since all of that goes in to the recyling bin also.

  3. Erik Robbins says:

    Phone Books = JOBS. From the companies that sell the paper and ink to the company that prints the books let alone all of the other folks involved in advertising and distributing. Our country desperately needs folks who are working and not bleeding the system. Same goes for junk mail. We might not like it but it does add to the economy.

    • wheels says:

      You could create more jobs by tearing down city hall and then rebuilding it. Higher crime would also create more jobs with increased visits to hospitals and more people spending more time in jail. An arsonist could really create a lot of jobs. Just because it is someone’s job to produce and distribute phone books doesn’t mean it’s a good contribution to our economy. If jobs are the main reason for creating unwanted phone books, then why don’t these companies who produce them also hire someone to go around a week after the books are distributed and collect all those unwanted phone books, plus last year’s phone book.

      If you want to put people to work doing something useful and not wasteful, the nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, water lines, and power distribution is in terrible shape. We need bridges, not phone books.

  4. Richard says:

    Door to door selling is dead. Newspaper advertising is dead. Telemarketing is dead. Direct mail is dead. Phone books are dead. Email marketing is illegal.

    The biggest hurdle for any new business is awareness. With all the potential customers running around with their fingers in their ears screaming about privacy and damn advertising, the cost to acquire a new customer has risen to become the greatest portion of any product purchase (yes, those costs are passed on to the buyer). Those same consumers whine incessantly about inflation and rising costs of everyday products.

    Meanwhile everyone is wondering why the economy is failing.

    If you are so incredibly stupid that you will throw away a new phone book, rather than leaf through it to see if there are any new lower cost suppliers of products you purchase regularly, you deserve to be included in the next round of layoffs as America continues its slow slide into third world nation status.

    The U.S. Post Office has had more layoffs than any other national enterprise. Those we good, high paying, union jobs. Now they’re gone because you can’t stand the idea of a company telling you about what they offer that, one day, but not today, you might need. Moron.

    National companies spend huge amounts of money trying to figure out who to contact. Believe it or not, nobody in sales wants to waste time talking to people who have no reason to buy. Why is it so expensive? Because you morons are working overtime trying to prevent anyone from finding out that you really really need a new faucet for your kitchen sink. You’d rather go to a home store and pay 50% more than get a piece of mail telling you about a discount.

    You all get exactly what you deserve.

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