. Being an internet marketer near Vancouver Washington I find this article very interesting, especially in how it relates to the current trends of how people use the internet to find products and services online. In October 2010 the City of Seattle passed a “green” ordnance to make the standard practice of distributing Yellow Pages to everyone, an option. After reviewing industry provided data, nearly 2 million yellow pages books are distributed in Seattle
every year. The cost of recycling these directories is estimated to be $ 350,000.00. The City Council wanted to recover some of these costs and imposed fees.
To distribute each directory now costs $ 0.14, the revenues will pay for a third party to administer an “opt out” system. Yellow Pages publishers will also have to reimburse the City for the cost of recycling old books (or new ones that were never used!), $ 148.00 per ton.
In November 2010, Yellow Pages Publishers (Dex One Corp., SuperMedia, and the Yellow Pages Association) filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle claiming a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment. Leading up to this showdown, the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) put up a new website, www.yellowpagesoptout.com as a way for consumers to opt out of distribution. The City Council felt that the opt out system should be administered by a third party, otherwise “the rooster would be guarding the hen house.” The Yellow Pages “hen house” brings in revenues estimated at nearly $ 2 Billion dollars a year and the costs of ads are based on distribution.
Here is my opinion. I am sure the YPA sincerely wants to protect the “Freedom of the Press” and not just profits in their lawsuit. However, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. The YPA may consider their directories treasure, but I consider them unwanted trash. If someone distributed a bag of their trash on every citizen’s doorstep who owned a telephone, I would expect him or her to be fined and make restitution for cleaning up the mess.
The new Seattle ordinance may cost the members of YPA up to $ 750,000.00 per year. The City Council’s position is that these are recovery and recycling costs for Yellow Pages in the City.
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