SEATTLE, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Duplication and waste, inefficiency, lack of privacy guarantees and an array of other concerns characterize Seattle's Yellow Pages opt-out website according to the Local Search Association, which manages a nationwide, industry-sponsored telephone directory opt-out program already available to Seattle residents through the www.yellowpagesoptout.com program.
"Seattle residents who believe that the city's site will protect their privacy when removing themselves from Yellow Page delivery lists will be sadly mistaken," said Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association. "We believe that the city's redundant site is not necessary and is unfairly leading residents to believe it has spent the government's time and the taxpayer's money on something new, when this option has been available to residents all along via www.yellowpagesoptout.com."
The official site, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, offers consumers a number of advantages including privacy protections that Seattle's site does not provide, an easy to use interface, and the ability to stop delivery of both Yellow Pages and white pages phone books.
Councilmember Mike O'Brien and Seattle Public Utilities have also released statistics that greatly exaggerate the environmental impact of print directories, falsely implying that phone books create 100 pounds of unwanted paper each year per household. According to the city's own estimates, the city annually recycles approximately 1,500 tons of phone books or less than 2 percent of total recyclables – not 17,500 tons as claimed.
"We are deeply concerned with the way the City of Seattle has exaggerated in its media effort the number of directories distributed within the city limits, suggesting a per/household pound estimate that is 1,200 percent above what their own research shows," Norton said.
Directory publishers remain committed to offering Seattle residents and consumers nationwide the ability to choose which directories they receive at www.yellowpagesoptout.com. Through proactive industry efforts, the amount of directory paper in the market has declined by nearly 35 percent since 2007.
One National Site is the Sustainable Approach
Even as the City of Seattle has worked to reduce its environmental footprint, it has selected a model that only encourages waste by duplicating work that the industry has already done. The sustainable approach is a national one, where there is one standard website for consumers across the United States to stop delivery of directories. The benefits of the industry's site include:
No burden to cities, taxpayers, or city government staff: Industry assumes all costs and staffing associated with development, maintenance and promotion of www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
Greater awareness: One official industry site will result in greater awareness for consumers across the country, amplifying the positive impact of the initiative.
Integration with publishers' technology systems: The website will work seamlessly with the publishers' systems; no third-party vendor has the same level of existing knowledge.
Library of directory covers provide better clarity of choice for the user: The website will include visuals that will make it easier for residents to identify the directories they wish to keep or stop.
Protected personal information: Residents using www.yellowpagesoptout.com can be confident that their personal information will only be shared with publishers for the purpose of customizing their directory delivery choices and not sold to third parties or used by city governments or their website vendors for marketing purposes. The city has made no such assurances for its opt-out program or website.
Providing Valuable & Sustainable Local Search Options
This year the Local Search Association issued its second annual sustainability report, which for the first time reflects the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. Key highlights from the 2011 report include:
Directory paper demand decreased an additional 8.1 percent in 2010, totaling nearly 35 percent in paper reduction since 2007.
Directory recovery rate increased to 36.9 percent according to the latest Environmental Production Agency data. This figure is up from 21.4 percent in last year's report.
Telephone directories continue to only represent 0.3 percent of the solid waste stream, significantly less than newspapers (3.2 percent) and office paper (2.2 percent).
An array of strategic partnerships focused on environmental, economic and social performance.
The Association has also formed a Sustainability Committee to continue developing sustainable business practices that make sense for their stakeholders, as well as to establish new benchmarks for the industry.
Formerly the Yellow Pages Association, the Local Search Association (www.localsearchassociation.org) is the largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile and social media that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers. Association members include U.S. and international Yellow Pages companies, search engines, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers. The Association has members in 29 countries.