Seattle Residents Will Soon Be Able To Opt Out Of Getting Yellow Pages

Back in May, we asked readers if they still used the White Pages and an overwhelming 87% of you said no. Soon, those of you in Seattle who no longer use the phone book will be able to opt out of receiving the annual doorstop.

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance that will allow residents to place themselves on a “do not deliver” list for the Yellow Pages.

Aside from the unwanted phone books being a nuisance to residents, they are a financial burden on the city, which spends about $350,000 each year to dispose of the tossed-aside tomes.

Writes Seattle PI:

As of April 1, publishers of yellow pages would have to get an annual, $100 special license to do business in Seattle. The city’s public utilities department would establish an “opt-out” directory for people and businesses who don’t want to receive yellow pages phone books.

Since not all of you are Seattle residents, we want to know if you’d like this kind of opt-out list for your area:

Sick of yellow pages? Seattle establishes ‘opt out’ list []


Edit Your Comment

  1. jesirose says:

    Opt out? Why not make it OPT IN? Make it a product, not a service. Then see how quickly they die. Come on, the yellow pages are useless compared to google, angie’s list and other review sites.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The good they do provide is that they list services you can’t find on the sites you mentioned, not to mention a hell of a lot more than what you can find.

      You can’t use google to find 60 mechanics in your area conveniently. You can’t use Craiglist to find obscure services. And isn’t Angie’s a pay site?

      • Nidoking says:

        You can’t? Do we need to break out the links?

      • SecretAgentWoman says:

        My google search for mechanics in my city showed 4,110 results, with the ten most close conveniently mapped and marked. And all had reviews attached to the listings. Yeah, don’t get that with the yellow pages. I dare you to list an “obscure service” I can’t find using the sites you mentioned.

        • Azzizzi says:

          I don’t pick a mechanic based on a search result or a printed advertisement, but I agree with the sentiment. I can find a lot more on the Internet than in a book that takes up space.

      • jesirose says:

        Silly me. I forgot that you can find more information in a dated book, than on the internet.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I can, actually. I can just type in mechanics for my area and get a detailed map of where mechanics are located – and with reviews, too. I have a trusted mechanic, but if I were in a dire situation and needed someone ASAP, I’m 100% more likely to have my smartphone with me than I am a big phonebook.

      • MMD says:

        If you can’t do this things on the internet, I’d say that’s on you.

      • Chaosium says:

        “You can’t use google to find 60 mechanics in your area conveniently.”


    • tdogg241 says:

      They tried to, but if memory serves, there were legal issues. This is better than nothing.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I choose not to opt-out of things such as this, because then my information is in some database for which I know nothing about. Also, sometimes if you don’t opt-out every few years, those same people who you opted-out from now have free rein to your information (e.g. the “do not call” list).

      • Chaosium says:

        “I choose not to opt-out of things such as this, because then my information is in some database for which I know nothing about.”

        Exactly. The way they handled it is terrible for my private information.

    • SG-Cleve says:

      Not everyone uses the Internet.

      • operator207 says:

        Yep. And this is how you solve that issue. You have to opt in for the phonebook. No one gets the book unless they ask for it. Have the company that creates the books to place ads in the newspapers, radio and tv or whatever for the way to opt in.

        The companies that create the books don’t throw money away, we don’t throw away unneeded books, and the city does not have to spend a small fortune disposing of them. Everyone is happy.

        Now, if the people that want a phone book do not read the paper, listen to radio or watch TV, you can always put the “ad” to opt in at the court house, or the post office. Or put it in the front of this year’s book, stating next year “you must opt in, and here is how” with instructions.

    • DanRydell says:

      I actually found Angie’s List to be pretty useless when I used it.

      I’m not surprised by the poll results considering the average age here.

  2. Roy Hobbs says:

    Mine just arrived, unbidden, on my doorstep a couple of days ago. Cannot wait to get on the opt-out list of what I consider to be an inferior hard copy of Google.

  3. LuckyLady says:

    Opt in, opt out–I’m just glad there’s a choice. I wish my county/city would do this.

  4. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Denver needs to do this. It reduces hassle for residents, saves the city money, and is “green.”

    Although, phone books do make excellent kindling.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      That’s true, we’re using our most recent batch as nice firestarters in with our laundry lint!

  5. cmdr.sass says:

    Some people will say that they keep their phone book for when the power/internet goes out. Just print out a list of the names, addresses, and numbers of your friends, relatives, utilities, repairmen, doctors, government offices, and favorite restaurants. Tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet and toss your yellow pages.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      This, and there’s also this fancy feature in a newfangled device called a “cellular phone” called a “phonebook” or “contacts list.” I get that the elderly want to keep around a phonebook because they’re probably not the most technologically savvy – but anyone else who is of sound mind and body should probably have all of those phone numbers programmed into a phone anyway. i have all of the utility companies’ phone numbers in my contacts list.

  6. Trollez says:

    I toss mine still in the bag it comes it. Neighbors have it sit outside for days/weeks since they always place it at doors no one uses. Complete waste of money and resources.

    • Jacquilynne says:

      Just a quick note that if your city offers recycling, you should take your phone book out of the bag first. The bag may or may not be recyclable, but it’s easier on the system if the two are separate in any case.


  7. mike says:

    Yellow/White pages are like newspapers: they need to be able to tell their advertisers that they have so many subscribers. Moving to the web, their numbers become more ambigious. At least with “subscribers”, they can say the number of households that receive the phonebooks.

    I agree that it should be opt-IN, but I don’t see this happening anytime soon.

  8. Horselady says:

    ONE book of yettow pages wouldn’t be so bad,
    but in our area there are about 4 different ones,
    some they just drive around and throw in all driveways,
    even vacant lots, vacant bldgs, etc….

    I had a funny thought once that I’d like to run up to the
    open van door and throw the @#$%& thing back in the van!!

    They create a lot of litter, as the ones not picked up just
    lay there
    and rot through all the seasons of the year.

    • redskull says:

      Agreed. I wouldn’t mind one so much, but we get at least two different ones here. It’s not even that big of a city (220,000). Even back when phone books were relevant I never understood why we had to have two books with the exact same numbers produced and delivered by two separate companies.

    • keepntabs says:

      Yes, I agree, too. I wouldn’t mind one yellow book per year, and it would be helpful to the have the government phone numbers in there, too. Then I would have no need for a white pages; most of the people that I call is via their cell phone, and that isn’t listed, anyway.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      We get I think it’s 3 yellow page books. There’s the big one from the telco, and 2 smaller ones that show up. We only keep the smaller one, and that just for looking up people.

    • Brainswarm says:

      I actually did that once. I heard the thump of the book on the porch, saw the van with its window wide open, ran out the door, and chucked the accursed thing back into the van while the delivery guy was up on the third floor of my building. He couldn’t have missed it when he came back, because I left it on the driver’s seat.

  9. dpeters11 says:

    Never heard of opting in or out in Cincinnati. It just went into my recycle bin.

  10. carlathecommander says:

    They dropped off a set at my door so I threw it away. A few hours later another set appeared. 4 phone books in the recycle. What a waste. The only thing they are good for it door stops and to raise computer monitors.

    At least with you can see what other customers think.

  11. jrwn says:

    working at a small phone company, you would be surprised how many old people still want their name in it.

  12. diasdiem says:

    I would like to return my unsolicited copy of the Yellow Pages to the publisher. Through a window. Tied to a brick.

  13. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Thank GOD!

    Bring that to Michigan, will you?

  14. SG-Cleve says:

    What about the advertisers? If 20% opt out, will the advertisers get a 20% refund from the publisher?

    • Chaosium says:

      “What about the advertisers? If 20% opt out, will the advertisers get a 20% refund from the publisher?”

      They’ll print the same number and burn the rest.

  15. g051051 says:

    I don’t mind when I get the phone books from my carrier, I really hate the “scam” yellow pages that gouge business to list in them, then deliver them to people who don’t want them. I already get an official yellow pages, I don’t need two extra fakes delivered as well.

  16. xjeyne says:

    YES!!! How do I get in on this?

  17. kc2idf says:

    I would like it better if I could opt in to one only. I don’t need The Talking Phone Book or the TransWestern Yellow Pages when I’ve already got Verizon’s yellow pages. One copy of the information will suffice, thank you very much.

    Oh, and yes, I would opt in.

  18. m1k3g says:

    Ha! They’re never going to stop distributing this garbage. There’s too much money in it and if they can’t report their inflated circulation numbers, whose going to advertise with them? You can supposedly opt-out of the Verizon yellow pages now – just try it. They might stop for a short time, but before you know it, they’ll be dropping that worthless piece-of-junk on your doorstep again. It’s just like the Post Office & junk mail – they don’t really want to stop delivering it to you cause it’s pretty much the only thing anyone mails these days! Gotta pay those retirees their pension somehow. Until someone in charge takes the initiative to outlaw this crap, we’ll continue to get it.

  19. snowmentality says:

    Yes, yes, dear god yes. We get three different phone books where I live, and I hold onto them only until phone book recycling time comes.

    Save a forest or ten and stop forcing me to deal with these massive wastes of paper.

  20. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    When I lived in a house, I’d get phonebooks but now that I live in an apartment, I don’t get any. I wonder whether it’s just a logistical thing (delivering phonebooks to 500+ doors?) or whether the complex purposely opts-out. In my case, I know my complex has a strict rule against solicitation so even though once in a while we (unfortunately) get pizza and Chinese takeout menus under our doorway, we don’t have people going door to door to ask surveys or anything.

    • reddbettie says:

      I work for an apartment community and we have had all 219 apartments phonebooks delivered in the past. More recently, they dropped them off in the mail room. The room would just be stacked and stacked with books.
      Last year we counted how many books were actually taken by residents.
      This year we stopped the phone book delivery guy and told him to just give us one pack- 8 books.

  21. aloria says:

    No. I need those phone books to impress people with my She-Ra like upper body strength.

  22. yikes says:
  23. TacomaRogue says:

    As a (hopefully) soon to be Seattle resident I’m quite happy about this. When I lived in Oregon I got 8 phone books in 7 months.

    There are a lot of great things that Seattle is doing with this program. As I understand it, the company will be fined for delivering to opt-out residents, and they have to pay a sizeable chunk of money to the city to help with recycling costs.

  24. gman863 says:

    “Yellow Pages” is not a copyrighted trademark. This is why, in the Houston area, I receive a minimum of 4 different “Yellow Pages” each year from different publishers.

    The existance of so many phone books is a testament to the snake oil selling ability of phone book ad sales reps. The fact your ad will be “distributed” to half a million households omits the fact only 10% (if that many) will actually use it to look up anything; let alone your business.

    Even white pages listings are becoming useless. Only “real” phone company customers (AT&T, Comcast, local landline phone companies) are listed. If you use VOIP (Vonage, Skype, MagicJack, etc.) or have a cell #, it won’t show in the white pages or directory assistance.

    My recycling bin runneth over. :-)

  25. jen says:

    While opt-in would clearly be a better scenario for something like this, I’d settle for opt-out. I get such a feeling of dread every time (maybe twice a year) I pull into my driveway and have to navigate the car around the stupid yellow pages that I put into the recycling bin without even bringing it into the house. Such a waste of resources. If there were an opt-out I would sign up for that list in a heartbeat.

  26. dush says:

    Yellowbook, Dex, Verizon pages, they all pile up and litter my yard.

  27. digisplicer says:

    I’ll take any phone book that people don’t want/need. I tear them in half to impress the ladies.

  28. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The Seattle gov’t shouldn’t have an opt-out program that targets ONLY the Yellow Pages. If it doesn’t affect all door stoop advertisers then don’t do it. Yellow Pages will be dinged 14 cents for every book delivered to pay for this gov’t registry. Why can’t people just opt out directly at the Yellow Pages website?