Tag Archives: junk mail

Print Yellow Pages Aren’t Junk Mail

Back in 2007 (http://www.yptalk.com/archive.cfm?ID=303&CatID=14) I wrote about how the perception that print yellow pages are the root cause of congested landfills and increased government trash waste doesn’t match the reality of what the typical household receives, and then needs to discard (99% of which is not recycled) in the way of junk mail.  To prove my point I compare one year of directories received to just three months of junk mail that arrived.  Over the course of a year, the pile of junk mail will far exceed the pile of print yellow pages.

I am happy to report that some recent tests have yielded similar findings.  Most recently, I received a note from Jeremy Snyder, the General Sales Manager at the Tarheel Pages.  I have cut down some of his analysis to get to the results of the similar test he did:

January 1, 2011 I started collecting every piece of unsolicited junk snail mail that came into my mailbox at my aforementioned house.  I kept a box in the corner of the kitchen and instructed my wife to throw any piece of advertising material into the box.  Any piece of mail that was not a bill, something she had a subscription for, or personal mail was to be thrown in that “junk mail” box.  We have it in our emails to weed out junk in our cyber life, I decided to make one for our physical life.  This is a true to life comparison, and anyone who wants to come and check the actual data is more than welcome, as it still sits in a big box (my wife WOULD NOT let me keep it lying on the floor!) I can’t say I was surprised by the outcome (which I concluded on December 31, 2011), but I was astounded when you compare it to a Phone Book.  I did a side by side comparison to the Phone Books delivered to the RTP Area of North Carolina including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill’s Phone book.  It’s amazing, and like Judge Korman mentioned, a form of discrimination, to realize that this unsolicited junk mail comes every single day into our mail boxes or post office boxes.  Whether it’s one or two or three pieces a day, you can see just how it adds up over 365 days!! Yet a phone directory that is delivered ONCE every year garners all the negative news about usage (or lack thereof) and wastefulness.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov recently stated,  “The solar system is sooo humongous big, right?! But if you see our solar system and our galaxy on the side, it was so small.”  It’s all about perspective!  I try to get my sales reps to encourage customers to look at the big picture in everything we do.  What we need to ask ourselves, or better yet, what all the naysayers need to ask themselves is, “Do we really think that taking away phone books and destroying thousands of jobs in its wake is, right now, something that is best for what’s happening in our Country (or World)???”

But I’ve come to find out that Jeremy’s fine effort hasn’t been the only test.  Thanks to Bob Tacey, Jr. the Founder/President of Modern Creative Seminars (Tacy Speaks) who also reminded me about a similar finding from Ron Mintle at Yellow Magic.  Ron ran a similar test just a couple of years ago and posted the actual weights of the two different media it on their  company blog (http://www.yellowmagicblog.blogspot.com/).  Here it is:

What I was interested in finding out was what would weigh more, the four Yellow Pages Directories I’ve got in my home, or all the junkmail I collect over the period of 12 months?

I didn’t have to wait very long to find out. Just four months after I’d started with my little experiment, I’ve got some interesting numbers for you. Now of course these may not be valid for everyone, but I couldn’t find anyone else that was crazy enough to have kept their junk mail for four months, which already tells you something…

So, here are the numbers. The junk mail weighed in at 12 pounds & all four of my Yellow Pages Directories together amounted to 9.4 pounds!
It means I collected 3 pounds of junk mail per month. If you do the math & extrapolate, that amounts to 36 pounds of junk mail per year! I’m pretty confident that after a year, those Yellow Pages Directories would still be 9.4 pounds & unlike the junk mail, each of those Yellow Pages are still useful.

Where’s my Yellow Pages? Next to my phone 🙂

So there you have it – three different tests in three different parts of the country and the results are identical.

Note to municipal governmentsPrint yellow pages directories are not your biggest problem in your waste streams.  You can save a heck of a lot more if you would just focus on the main culprits driving up your costs – cardboard, newspapers, and JUNK MAIL.

Let me close with some final words from Jeremy Snyder‘s note, words the industry should embrace:

As many of you in and out of the industry know, we are being inundated with negative perceptions.  These perceptions (and they ARE perceptions) of our extinction have increasingly grown over the last few years.  It makes our jobs harder and harder to convince the small business owner (and mainstream media) that for over 150 years Yellow Pages helped literally millions of small businesses around the world reach the consumer at a point when they are ready to BUY!  In 2008 the Wall Street Journal published an article about the “Extinction of Yellow Pages”. It was full of misstatements of facts, but yet no one ever responded when the Yellow Page Associations tried to contact and defend ourselves.  Now, 3 years later, the blogosphere and online marketing companies (who have a vested interest in YP death) create this “virus” (Irony?).  A virus of the mind which infects the business owners, the general consumer, and even local governments.  Starting in the urban areas that are more technologically savvy and slowly but surely making its way to Small Business America and the everyday consumers.

Folks, isn’t it time to start fighting back on all these misconceptions, lies, and complete mistruths??

Seattle Green Efforts Come Up Way Short

You have to be one tough hombre to live in Seattle.  It can be one of the most depressing places to live and work.  The city averages 226 cloudy days and 155 days of rain a year.   That maybe one reason why the city needs some 9,000+ coffee shops just to help you make it through the day.  It’s also not a cheap place to live:  compared to the rest of the country, Seattle’s cost of living is 42.60% HIGHER than the U.S. average.  I think it may even have some green envy since Portland, not Seattle, was named as one of the top 10 most eco-oriented cities in the world, mostly because of a comprehensive plan to reduce CO2 emissions and aggressive green building initiatives.  And since I found all of these depressing stats on the Internet, of course they must be true.

So can we really blame the city for wanting to be first at something?  Why not try to pick on print yellow pages.  Their unique but ultimately illegal attempts
to force a city run opt-out program and recycling fees on yellow page publishers
have been well documented here:

To show you how misguided its civic leaders are, consider this recent stroke of genius:  to try to get Seattle residents and businesses to follow their opt-out jihad on phone books, residents have been urged by mail through a yellow postcard from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) on how to stop receiving “unwanted phone books”.

During July, yellow post cards (ironic choice of color for the card don’t
you think) were sent to 280,000 residence and business addresses so that
Seattleites who “….don’t have Internet access can select their phone book
delivery preferences by mail.”  In the ultimate in hypocrisy, the program coordinator:

“….acknowledged the irony of sending out mail to encourage people to stop junk mail but he pointed out that the mailer, which will use four tons of paper, is expected to help 28,000 more households and businesses stop 168,000 phone book deliveries, saving 150 tons of paper….”

How many of those 280K post cards, or 4 TONS OF PAPER do you think will be recycled?? And the outcry from all of those “green” champions who despise Yellow Pages?  Haven’t heard a peep out of them yet.  Zip, zilch, nanda, zero.  So junk mail is ok now in Seattle??

But wait.  It gets better.   King County has initiated a new online service to help eliminate junk mail for those live outside the City of Seattle.  As King County
Executive Dow Constantine acknowledged, “…recycling is great, but reducing
waste at the source is even better…”    Perhaps the city of Seattle should take note.

Or even just do a little research before they plunged headlong into this ridiculous effort.  For example, if they had just bothered to look at the recent research from Market Authority which conducted 185,000 interviews on how American’s search for a local business.

They would have found irrefutable data, analysis and reporting on how
people look for a local business when making a local buying decision. The
research fully dispels the prevalent “urban myth” that the Internet has taken
over the local search arena:

“The Internet is gaining ground but surprisingly, overall it is a long way from dominating print Yellow Pages as America’s primary search option,” says Deanna S. Helsten, Director of Research Market Authority, Inc. “We
determine and prove print versus Internet sage…actuality and perception, smart phone ownership and usage, Internet connectivity, etc., market by market, all organized by today’s ever growing imperative – age groups,” states Steve Sitton, CEO Market Authority, Inc.

The research detailed the often remarkable difference between metropolitan,
suburban and rural markets. In nearly every market in America, print yellow pages is still very strong.

But Seattle is clearly intent on going in a different direction.  I assume they missed this annoucement since it didn’t come in their junk mail……