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From the department of transparent marketing ploys comes an effort by, a UK Internet directory service, demanding an opt-in regime for phone book distribution in Britain.

This is neither a unique nor an indefensible position. Many environmental groups around the world are actively pushing for various flavors of opt-in or opt-out programs to reduce the number of unwanted phone books. And BIA/Kelsey believes the industry needs to embrace opt-out programs because it’s the right thing to do and it might help stave off a more severe consumer/environmentalist backlash. But when a competitor to the phone book takes up this mantle, it takes on an aura of self-serving shamelessness that diminishes what might otherwise be a useful debate.

The main unnamed target of the campaign is Yell, the leading print directories publisher and also a key player in  IYP, the field that wants to play in.

For a little color, see this article in The Sun, one of Britain’s more exuberant tabloids.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. The campaign is not only self-serving, it contains inaccurate statements and inferences that there is no opt-out available – there is. And we, and other delivery companies, adhere to these requests. tried this once before, asking for an opt-out system, when publishers already had them in place.

    The other key difference in’s case is that they operate on a pay per search model.

    I just treed to find me – they can’t find my number at all – but if I pay up for “premium” service I can access my electoral roll data and find out when I was born….

    They can find my company – with two phone numbers, one of which is incorrect.

    They can also find a local Photo processing company that has been out of business a number of years locally – really handy knowledge.

    The old adage about glass houses and stone-throwing comes to mind!

  2. Just spotted the freudian slip in the last post – for “treed”, read “tried”…

    Have also responded on the blog about this but my thoughts seem to have disappeared into “moderation”. Hopefully they won’t be too long in publishing..!

  3. Hi Peter,
    Thanks for adding some color to this. It appears as though’s efforts might be better directed at improving their product. I just returned from the Association of Directory Publishers event here in the states, and opt out was high on the agenda. Real concern that this can get out of hand. Perhaps this will help ensure that opt out efforts are uniformly serious. My sense is the experience in Europe has generally been that serious opt out efforts do not seriously damage book possession and usage.

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