Yellow Pages / Canpages…Dark Ages?

Marni MacLeod

Finally, finally, finally….a light is appearing at the end of the tunnel (away) from these archaic, tree killers.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have limited shelf space in my kitchen or it could be that the indexing systems in both these publications make it next to impossible to actually find anything, or perhaps it’s the multiple overlap that defies logic (I have yet to figure out why I get 5 different flippin’ directories for one street address) or it could be the senseless waste of resources…take your pick – they all help to explain why I have a hate on for both these publications.  I don’t want them and I don’t need them.  Like a good many other people I use Google to find what I’m looking for if I need a number or information about a service.  And while I admit I’m biased (working where I do)…I like being able to read up on a service provider or get a sense of their work by looking at their websites BEFORE I call them.  So, last night while driving home from work I was delighted to hear a CBC story that actually broadcast that you CAN opt out of receiving the Canpages (provided you have Mensa training to find the link on their website that lets you do so or you have time to wait on hold for a gazillion years to talk to someone about opting out).  But no matter.  At least it’s a possibility.

I understand from a business perspective why these publishers are reluctant…it costs a good deal of dough to grace the pages of one of these publications (in other words it’s all about the money — surprised?  I didn’t think so).  In some cases, depending on your target audience, I suppose it might be worth buying ad space in the YP and CanP but I am skeptical of the claims from both these publications that their research shows a good number of people still use their products.  For what?  is the first question that springs to mind.  I’d like to see the research and determine for myself whether “use as door stop” or “propping up computer monitor” were included in the survey question.

Just finished attempting to Opt Out of Canpages…here’s the link through the maze by the way: — according to the CBC story yesterday you have to send them an email through “Book Distribution” — there is no clearly marked “Opt Out Here” button (Gee, think that might be a user friendly feature?)  Anyway, it gets better… they make you fill in the circulation year or they won’t let you submit the form.  However, they do not include 2009 in the drop down menu.  So, apparently, I’m stuck with more paper this year (sigh).  Kudos to those people out there making an effort to put these companies on notice that they need to rethink how they are going to provide services.  The skills sets developed over time are not useless…they just need to be redirected.  Waiting until everyone REALLY hates your product is probably not the way to go about it.

Yellow Pages doesn’t offer an Opt Out at all…yet.  Surely, there must be a few bright lights over there that can see this is not a good PR move.  Hello? Hello? The rationale I read somewhere for the no opt out postiion was something along the lines of “Well, if we didn’t send you something would you think to ask for it?”  Hmmmm, well, if I needed it I do believe I would ask for it…and I’d probably fire up my computer and look you up on Google so I knew who to call about it ;-).

Ok, hump day rant over…And now…we return you to your previously scheduled program.

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