Don’t want yellow-pages (etc.) directories? Opt-out deadline ahead

Both Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien and a PR agency for the yellow-pages-directory industry have sent reminders today that a deadline is ahead for opting out of the next big round of deliveries – go to this website by May 6th if you want to opt out of the next Dex directory delivery. They say you can also use that site to set your preferences regarding other directories. The city, you might recall, was sued over its attempts to constrain the directory industry (Seattle Times coverage here), but residents still have the right to opt out, and this industry-sponsored site is what both sides are recommending.

32 Replies to "Don't want yellow-pages (etc.) directories? Opt-out deadline ahead"

  • Marshall April 25, 2013 (11:00 am)

    WSB – The opt out link goes to the Seattle Times story rather than the opt out site.

    • WSB April 25, 2013 (11:07 am)

      Fixed the link, thanks. Didn’t mean to repeat the Times link twice in the story. Partnership, by the way, is not why I used that link (there is no money or other compensation involved in our longterm informal partnership, nor are there any expectations, requirements, etc.) – that’s the only reference I’d found to the lawsuit. We don’t link to sites like the DJC where you can NEVER see a story for free but I believe the Times at least offers several a month for free. I do need to come up with a disclaimer format to identify the few links we will use … I am personally no fan of paywalls and think they are a major mistake for news publications, but nonetheless, more of our fellow news sites are jumping off that cliff, and claiming it’s working. If you don’t like paywalls, please do support our sponsors and tell them you appreciate their sponsorship of local news :) – Tracy

  • chas redmond April 25, 2013 (11:04 am)

    Please don’t provide links to paywall sites. The link you reference is met with a “you have passed your free looks” message. I know the Times is a partner – bad for you good for them.

  • MightyMoh April 25, 2013 (11:05 am)

    FYI, the “go to this website” link goes to the older Seattle Times story about the suit (and starts the paywall countdown).

  • ScottA April 25, 2013 (11:22 am)

    I just did the opt-out process at the site above and they pretty much demand not just address (obviously) but name, phone and email. Then I think I had to go to my email to verify my email address and login to the site and clarify which books I didn’t want. Not nearly as simple as the old Seattle system.

    TR – please do add some kind of disclaimer so I at least right click on the link to open in an Incognito/non-cookie browser window. I almost do this automatically when I see Seattle Times mentioned but not quite. Thanks!

  • Diane April 25, 2013 (11:52 am)

    this opt-out option cost Seattle almost a million dollars; I am not impressed
    here’s another source (no paywall) with long detailed story about the legal issues
    “Court whacking of Seattle on phone books lets corporations run legally amok”
    “The responses to Seattle’s $781,503-losing lawsuit with phone-book publishers highlight misunderstanding of the issues of corporate influence and the predictability of concerned citizens and activists.”

    • WSB April 25, 2013 (12:02 pm)

      Thanks, Diane, I will admit to a very quick google that brought up the Times link. Not a big Crosscut fan so I missed that story but gosh, we even know that author. Will check it out. – TR

  • badger April 25, 2013 (11:59 am)

    Thank you!

  • Diane April 25, 2013 (12:20 pm)

    I’m on the Crosscut email list, and had copied this article to a word doc when it came out, so I just searched my own computer

  • Bob H April 25, 2013 (12:21 pm)

    Gotta agree with ScottA. The opt-out process requires unnecessary information and trouble, which is probably by design…

  • enough April 25, 2013 (12:38 pm)

    It seems there have been several opt out programs. I remember filling out information on line 1 or 2 years ago. Why so many? And will one finally work?

  • Jim P. April 25, 2013 (12:46 pm)

    The “opt out process is made as Byzantine and annoying as possible and you can be sure it is quite deliberate.

    They no more need your telephone number then they need you to set up an account and “register” with them.

    I’ve used a “honeypot” phone number so we’ll see how that gets abused.

    This industry is no more interested in letting you opt out than the cigarette industry is in smoking cessation programs.

  • Twobottles April 25, 2013 (12:46 pm)

    The easiest “opt out” for me has been front porch to recycle bin; the books never even get in my front door.

  • Jim P. April 25, 2013 (12:54 pm)

    I’m not holding my breath. They reserve the right to still send you anything they want if you are closer in than 12 weeks from the next delivery. Which is utter BS.

    So I expect nothing will really change.

    Looks like you can use a fake phone number, which I suggest….555-1212 or any other number that starts with 555 as those are all null, the 1212 goes to directory assistance in the area code used or did the last time I used it.

  • Bryan H April 25, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    There is no good reason they require name and phone number. They are able to deliver directories now without that info. Also, why is there a deadline? Is it so people will register before they have time to find out what they’re getting into?

    I think it smells like two-day-old fish.

    • WSB April 25, 2013 (1:58 pm)

      Bryan – the deadline is because that’s how much lead time they need to prevent delivery of Dex directories, according to the announcements we got today. There have been deadlines before.

  • Chris W April 25, 2013 (2:20 pm)

    Happy to see I’m not the only one who hit the Seattle Times free read limit this week. I hit it at six different sites and am jonesing for more national news. Fortunately, WS Blog has my local news addiction covered!!

  • kevin April 25, 2013 (2:22 pm)

    This “opt out” is a TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE solution! In order to be able to opt out – the web site requires the user to enter in all their personal contact information.
    Interesting that they DO NOT provide any contact information for YOU to contact them…
    They do NOT appear to offer an opt out method for folks without access to a computer!
    My solution – dump it on their door step when it arrives.

  • iggy April 25, 2013 (3:26 pm)

    Last year we tried the opt-out, and in addition to wanting all sorts of personal information, it seems it does not work for multi-family dwellings, such as condos. So, our condo routinely dumps about 75 phone books into the landfill recycle. What a waste. The City of Seattle was able to ban plastic bags, why not phone books. There should be a phone number to call if you want to “opt in,” but opt out should be the default.

  • miws April 25, 2013 (4:10 pm)

    Thanks for this, WSB.


    I opted out of all but Dex W and Y, because as much as I hate getting 50,000 Yellow Pages a year, I do like to have a W & Y as a back up, should the internet not be accessible for some reason.


    I only wish I knew/remembered if the Dex mini is both W/Y, or just Y. I’d prefer the more compact, though complete, version.



  • datamuse April 25, 2013 (4:13 pm)

    This new setup seems to have an option for multifamily residences, iggy, for what that’s worth. I didn’t look at it closely because I live in a single-family house.
    It IS a cumbersome setup, though. It was not at all obvious to me that once you enter your information, you have to click the link they send you in e-mail to go back to the site and then set your preferences–and the default is that you’ll receive the phone books.
    I dunno, to me making the opt-out process this difficult smacks of desperation–like they know people don’t really want this product so they’re going to deliberately make it difficult not to receive. Way to endear yourselves, Dex.

  • kevin April 25, 2013 (4:30 pm)

    It took WAY too long to finally track this down, but I was able to opt of of Dex by phone, providing only a zip code, and a street address.
    Will be interesting to see if it works…

  • Peter on Fauntleroy April 25, 2013 (4:35 pm)

    Second that Iggy. I’m not going to give them my personal info when they’re just going to dump a bundle on our front steps regardless. However, those bundles do make a handy impromptu doorstop when needed.

  • Kelly April 25, 2013 (4:38 pm)

    I opt-ed out. Honestly, it wasn’t that painful, and they got my real name, email and a fake tel. Thanks WSBlog for the tip.

  • J April 25, 2013 (5:32 pm)

    Terms of Use: “All information provided by you in connection with the Site (other than Personal Information covered by our Privacy Policy) shall be deemed not to be confidential and we will not protect any information provided by you from disclosure. We shall be free to use, disclose and distribute such information to third parties without any limitation.”

    This is not an acceptable solution. We need an “opt-in” policy, not a “you get it unless you opt out” policy.

  • SD April 25, 2013 (6:53 pm)

    Does anyone know, if you’ve already opted out (at the time of the original ban), do you have to do it again? I think the original opt out was through the site that helps you stop getting unwanted catalogs.

    • WSB April 25, 2013 (7:01 pm)

      Hope not. We opted out and have not received anything in what seems like at least a year.

  • fiz April 25, 2013 (9:48 pm)

    I let them stack until the grandkids show up and hurl them off the front porch into the recycle bin. They get points for accuracy and form but lose everything if they take out one of the porch lights. Cookies and milk to the winners.

    We tried to opt out when the ordinance first came out but it didn’t make much difference. So if the publishers want to waste money bringing them here that’s fine with me. More fun for the grandkids.

  • Dave April 25, 2013 (10:45 pm)

    I say we track down the local publishers, get the CEO’s home address, and we take a couple tons of trash and dump it on his doorstep.

  • CJ April 25, 2013 (11:46 pm) is one route to opting out of phone books and you can take care of the rest of the mail you don’t want at the same time. It’s a handy site.

  • Kim April 26, 2013 (7:40 am)

    I had opted out before but took time to login and check, and sure enough there were two new publications that I was “opted in” for. So I hit “opt out of all” again!

  • NotMe April 26, 2013 (1:38 pm)

    They got my name and number, but I never ever answer that home number for this very reason… too many annoying marketing calls. It fills up my voice mail and I just let them hear the “voice mail is full” message if they are not using a robo-call system. It’s worth the couple minutes if I don’t get the useless yellow pages. I sure hope most small businesses don’t spend money on yellow pages since it has no real return.

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