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    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

On fingers doing the walking

With this whole Internet thing, I have not cracked a copy of The Yellow Pages in years. Somehow I assumed that at some point they would just stop delivering them in favour of online distribution or give me the option for a CD-ROM.

Alas, no. So after receiving the bulk that is the Yellow Pages on my doorstep this week, I called them to cancel. Actually, there are two competing companies now, the CanPages being the other.

I can only imagine the ecological footprint associated with these two publications each year. Each is a good four inches of paper, plus colouring them yellow, the regular inks on top of that, and the delivery to my doorstep. They are kind of like encyclopedias, an artifact of a different time, to accommodate volumes of information before the Internet.

So why do we still get these things every year? I have not probed too deeply but their business model is to sell advertising and give away the directory for free. Kinda like junk mail flyers. Seemingly two companies can sell enough advertising, print and distribute a forest worth of paper, and still come out making a profit. On some ecological economic front, there has got to be some major cost externalizing going on here.

There appears to be no means of opting out online. I had to call and actually talk to a person. And there was essentially no wait, so you can tell there is very little take-up on cancelling them.

If you want to follow: For the Yellow Pages, you can find you local office to call here. And for CanPages, here.

Comments

Comment from Andrew Jackson
Time: July 26, 2008, 10:44 am

I think that you will find that there are many businesses listed – and advertising – in the Yellow Pages that have no web presence. I still use them to locate home services, restaurants and the like – call it fishing in a bigger pond.

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