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Lawmakers Take Aim At Yellow Pages

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Once again, the AP is reporting, the yellow pages are battling against an opt-out program being championed by a politician.

There has been legislation proposed in seven states to reduce the number of unwanted phone books being distributed. Not one of them has made it past legislative committees.

Of course, to hear the Yellow Page Association tell it, the books are a strong way for local businesses to advertise while being a cash cow.

They are certainly a cash cow. And, admittedly, in some smaller areas, they are still used. But in major metropolitan areas, people simply don't use them anymore. This is, unfortunately, where they're most common.

From the AP: "Some residents in Seattle and other communities in King County, Wash., receive phone books from as many as four publishers, said Tom Watson, a waste prevention specialist for the region. 'There hasn't been a good way to opt out,' he said."

So what's the solution? In a country where there twice as many phone books are printed every year as there are people, at the very least, it seems there needs to be an opt-out program. And one that is easy to find.

Joseph Igoe, a city councilman in Albany NY is trying to do just that. According to the AP article he is: "trying to build support for a law that would limit the distribution of phone books and require publishers to make it easy for people to halt delivery."

If he is successful, it would be the first time that such legislation has been successful. Similar attempts have been made in Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Washington but have all ended without success.

As it stands, use is flagging in the aforementioned major metropolitan areas. It should be just a matter of time until those opt-outs exist.

Until then, we'll continue use our phone books for what we have been for years. Monitor stands for our computers.

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