Dear Verizon: Take Your Yellow Pages and Shove It

Northern Liberties residents to return the worthless books to Verizon.

verizon-yellow-pages-shove-it-400It happened last week. I was working from home with The People’s Court on in the background when I heard a dull thump in front of my house. I opened the door, and there it was: the 2014 edition of Verizon’s Yellow Pages, certainly the most wasteful use of paper ever known to man.

Technically, these aren’t the Yellow Pages at all. They’re actually Verizon’s Super Pages.

But, like Band-Aids, Xerox machines and Kleenex, the “Yellow Pages” brand name has become diluted and generified.




"Yellow Pages" just means a book containing hundreds and hundreds of pages of phone numbers that you didn't need, a book covered in ads from those same personal injury and workers' comp law firms that advertise incessantly on television during court TV programs like the one I was half-watching.

Ironically, within about 30 minutes of receiving the book, I realized that I needed to get a suit to the dry cleaner. So I thought, what the heck, let me check the Yellow Pages. I did, and there were less than two columns of dry cleaners listed. Clearly, the vast majority of the hundreds of dry cleaners in Philadelphia have figured out that the Yellow Pages is bunk.

So how do you deal with this annual annoyance?

The first thing you can do is opt out of the Yellow Pages using a website that is appropriately named yellowpagesoptout.com. You just input your ZIP code, and it tells you which Yellow Pages are in your area. And then you opt out. Hopefully, that will be the last Yellow Pages delivery that I get.

But the always civically active Northern Liberties Neighbors Association has taken it one step further. They're offering to take residents' Verizon Yellow Pages off of their hands and give them back to Verizon.

"It’s that time of year when our streets get flooded with superfluous wads of paper," wrote NLNA board member Katrina Mansfield in a blog post on the NLNA site. "In total the city spends millions of dollars to remove the 2-3 phone books per person that are deposited in this city. One way to get this wasteful relic of the past to stop is to show the companies that people do not want these books anymore."

If you live in Northern Liberties, the NLNA asks you to drop off the books at the community center at 700 N. Third Street. If you don't live in Northern Liberties and you want to make a point, we suggest showing up at your local Verizon location and dropping off any books that show up in your neighborhood. Or, perhaps a bit more fun, a good-old Verizon Yellow Pages book burning.

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  • Eric

    This is good for the six 85-year-old widows who still use yellow pages when not writing $7 checks at the pharmacy, but that’s about it. Between paper costs, printing, hauling, etc., that seems a lot of work and resources to make and deliver instant trash.

    • http://www.philadelinquency.com/ SheriffPHL

      That was the argument being made 15 years ago. All the 85 year old grandmas back then are most-likely dead. And even back then when the Internet was still new to a lot of people, you could always pick up the phone and call 411. You can still do that right now. From a rotary phone.

  • MaBell

    Reuben H. Donnelly look it up

  • Ray Kerstetter

    tell Verizon to give us a decent, free internet place to look up phone numbers easier to navigate, and say no to the free pages that are only looking to make money off of you!!

  • Denise Rambo

    When the book hits my doorstep, I pick it and deposit it directly into the trash can alongside my house. It never even makes it inside. What a waste of …. everything!

  • Paulie M

    I wish you all would take a minute to think before you write a comment. Based on the fact that only businesses on the first page of Google get noticed, there is no room for the small business who cannot afford the cost to compete for that space.I happen to know of over 50 businesses who are averaging anywhere from 75 to 200 calls a month from the Philadelphia Yellow Pages. I guess there are some people still picking up the book.

    • Jason

      I spend over $4k a month on Dex media full page color ads. I have call tracking on the number. I receive about 40 calls per month. That’s $100 per call. Most calls are from solicitors or people looking for a job. Definitely not worth the money! I’ve been a full page color customer for over 17 years. This is my last year with them. I moved all our ad budget to PPC and SEO. Much better results!

      • Paulie M

        Jason,
        A lot of it has to do with location and headings. The usage in Philly far outweighs that of suburban areas . I also am a huge believer in PPC , my point was that for a lot of small businesses the exposure on Google is not affordable. With the price of the phone book ad going down, sometimes you can still get a decent ROI . The CPC for certain types of business ie auto insurance , is often to high for the average small business person to afford.

        • Jason

          Paule, I’m in the Tampa Bay Area in Florida. The book goes to about 1mil. households in the 3 counties I’m in. I’m a pretty well known roofing contractor in my area, I’m also banking on the 65 years old and older homeowners who may still use the book, but my call volume is so low even in the busy season. Some months I get about 30 calls and very few are good leads. I spend about $3 per click with google, bing and yahoo. I get about 500 clicks per month and dozens of good leads from it. I recently found a good SEO company that has put me on page one with some good keyword phrases. With my whole online campaign I spend just as much with the YP and you can’t even compare the two. Online blows it away every month.

      • Paulie M

        Ps. A lot of my customers still get calls from solicitors and job seekers from PPC campaigns also. Nobody has figured out a way to stop that.

  • giggitygoo

    Probably why YP.COM (the real Yellow Pages) now does SEO,SEM and PPC along with direct mail and print ads. They have an opt out number to call. Since they went into they digital media game. They are smoking hot right now in the Ad game.