Can you remember the last time you used the Yellow Pages? No, not as a doorstop or a booster seat, but as an actual resource? I know, we have the internet, but there are some folks out there still consulting a big yellow book full of phone numbers, and businesses who still take out display ads in the hopes of attracting customers. [More]
Maurice isn’t an anti-phone book zealot, but he doesn’t need one, either. A few months ago, an unwanted one showed up on his porch. Instead of saving it for a power or Internet service outage or sticking it under a wobbly table leg, he decided to contact the company that delivered it and let them know that they didn’t need to waste any more trees or time delivering phone books to him. The message didn’t quite take. Unwanted phone books are pretty low on his list of problems in life, but that’s an easy problem to solve. Right? [More]
“Our records indicate that you have elected not to receive the AT&T directory currently being delivered,” said the tag left on Chris’s doorknob. This is correct. He has requested to not receive any phone books whatsoever, from any phone company, for the last three years. AT&T doesn’t believe him, though, so they left him some phone books just in case.
Add phone books to the growing list of things that will one day make you feel old for living in a time in which they existed. The California Public Utilities Commission approved Verizon’s request that the residential white pages would no longer be delivered statewide automatically. Yellow Pages, and government and business listings will still be distributed.
Steve lives in Seattle, where a recently passed city ordinance dictates that phone book publishers must let residents opt out of doorstop delivery. He chose to opt out of delivery, and watched piles of Verizon Superpages volumes arrive in his neighborhood. and wrote to us because he was impressed with the lengths to which Verizon went to acknowledge his request, as well as to make absolutely sure that Steve hadn’t changed his mind about wanting a phone book.
A few weeks ago we wrote about the recently passed ordinance in Seattle that would create a do-not-deliver list for residents who no longer want to receive the doorstop that is the phone book. Now we hear from the Yellow Pages Association that they have filed a lawsuit alleging that the regulations violate their right to free speech.
If you read our post about Seattle residents getting the chance to opt out of phone book delivery, don’t be jealous of our friends in the Pacific Northwest. It turns out anyone can stop phone book delivery, not just people who live in cities of Space Needles, markets at which they throw fish at you and pathetic football teams.
I don’t use phone books, but I get three different ones delivered to my house every year anyway. Hardly anyone I communicate with even has a landline, let alone a white pages listing, but that doesn’t matter. They still deliver them. Straight into a snowbank.
Cincinnati Bell hates phone books and recently asked Ohio to let them kill their White Pages. Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission, also haters of the ever-wasteful and often useless White Pages, agreed. Now Cincinnati residents won’t get a phone book unless they specially request one. We’re no fans of the White Pages, but the deal isn’t as consumer-friendly as it looks.
How can you tell the number of vacant houses on a block? Easy. Just look for the houses with phone books piling up on the porch. The phone book spammers count those property-value killers into their circulation numbers, which is how they sucker businesses into buying listings in the yellow pages. Minnesota blogger Ed Kohler is even angrier about phone book spam than I am, and is on a bit of a mission to never have a phone book on his property again. So he got a little pissed when Verizon, a company he has no business relationship with, tossed one on his steps.
Tim enjoyed his unlisted phone number for over thirty years until Charter published it in the local phone book. Now he has two options: ditch his long-time number, or lose his cherished anonymity. Inside, Charter’s apology letter.
Phone book publishers spit out over 600 million phone books for just over 300 million Americans. Now the $17 billion a year industry is defending itself from state legislatures that want to restrict phone book circulations so consumers don’t wreck their snowblowers when they hit snow-covered phone books. True story.
Verizon announced last week that they accidentally sold over 12,500 private addresses and phone numbers to a phone book company in West Virginia. “We certainly apologize to those customers whose numbers were published. … We’re taking accountability for that,” said a Verizon spokesman. Translation: they’re calling customers to let them know what happened, offering to change their phone numbers for free, and offering to pay the fee to have an unlisted number ($1.98 a month) for a year. Since this is the second time Verizon has made this mistake in the past four years, we wonder if “accountability” can also include taking steps to find out how the numbers keep getting offered up for sale.
Missouri florists have bankrupted a New Jersey telemarketer accused in a class action suit of tampering with phone book listings to siphon callers away from local businesses. The telemarketer, TTP, purchased phone book listings under the same names as local florists, but did not provide an address; the listings appeared side-by-side, but when local callers dialed the number without an address, they were directed to an out-of-state call center that tacked on a handling fee and submitted the order to a different area florist.
“The primary objective of both lawsuits is to get TTP out of Missouri,” said Gregory Leyh of Gladstone, the attorney for both class-action lawsuits. “TTP cheats by pretending to be a local florist so it can fool consumers and steal the legitimate business of Missouri florists. At least for now, TTP is no longer in the floral business in Missouri.”
One upon a time if you knew someone’s name, you could go to a thing called a “phone book” and look up their phone number and where they lived.