Kill those print yellow pages — not so fast!!!

In another classic case of how directory publishers in telephone companies can shoot themselves in the foot (and several other very painful places), Frontier Communications petitioned the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission to stop providing printed directories to its customers or, in the alternative, provide phone books only to customers who request them (can you say “opt-in”).

For those not aware of it, by PSC requirements, most Telco’s have to publish a directory every year.  In it’s deep wisdom Frontier argued that “…printed phone books are “antiquated” because of the availability of directories on the Internet…” – and we all know that if it’s on the internet, everything else be damned.

Well, not so fast sparky — The Pocahontas County Commission considered the issue during its meeting on October 15 and quickly concurred that Pocahontas County residents need a printed phone book. The Commission agreed to send a letter to the PSC, stating its opposition to the phone company’s proposal. Commission President David Fleming offered to draft the letter.

“I can draft that letter, if you’d like,” Fleming said. “What I would say, basically, is that the County Commission is adamantly opposed to Frontier’s petition to request ceasing of the printing of the phone book. I’ll say language, to the effect, Pocahontas Countians rely on the phone books. As a rural county, a significant percentage of our population doesn’t even have a computer. Moreover, we have relatively unreliable Internet service. Therefore we request that Frontier’s petition be denied.”

Remember we aren’t talking about NY city or LA, or some other cement suburban area, we are talking about rural America where people like to shop locally and not online.  They want to know who they are doing business with.  Frontier obviously doesn’t get that, or more factually has no clue how to run a highly profitable advertising sales organization in a rural market.  Clearly no one from corporate wants to go live in a God forsaken place like this and manage Yellow Page sales.  Not when they can sit behind a desk in some glass tower in a more attractive city and play on their computers all day.

As a former manager once schooled me on “…you can’t help stupid…”.  Add another Telco publisher to that list.

If these books are “antiquated”  how come I got 3 calls today from people that are upset their phone listing was left our of the directory, or the 4 people who wanted more copies of the book?????

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One response to “Kill those print yellow pages — not so fast!!!

  1. “For those not aware of it, by PSC requirements, most Telco’s have to publish a directory every year.”.
    Im not so sure Stateside, but this would be a mistruth by omission here in Australia. The local incumbent Sensis has a legal requirement to print the Sensis White Pages (residential directory), but there is no requirement to print a commercial product like the Yellowpages (Business Directory), to my knowledge. And with the exception of smaller outlier communities each directory is seperate, so Directory publishers cant hide behind the fact that the two directories are combined into the one book, and unbundling costs would be too prohibitive (and no doubt the publishers would be seeking some Federal or State financial assistance from the public purse to offset the costs of seperating the two directories).

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