Today's decision by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to ban freely available Yellow Pages will put hundreds of San Francisco residents out of work, restrict small businesses' ability to reach customers, and disenfranchise seniors, as well as Hispanic, Chinese and LGBT communities. Concerned San Francisco businesses and publishers will ask the Mayor to veto the ban that restricts small business' ability to market themselves and attract customers.
"We share with many cities the common goal of eliminating unwanted directory delivery, but we disagree with an ordinance that effectively bans Yellow Pages, costs jobs and hurts consumers," said Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association. "This is a slap in the face to San Francisco's 115,000 small businesses, the Hispanic, Chinese and LGBT communities, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and seniors."
Yellow Pages companies have made proactive efforts to provide consumers with the ability to reduce or stop delivery of phone books. The industry's official site at www.yellowpagesoptout.com offers a single, centralized hub for consumers nationwide to submit delivery requests. This site will accomplish what the San Francisco Board of Supervisors seeks to achieve, without jeopardizing San Francisco's fragile economy.
"The government should not decide which forms of media have value or work best for advertisers or consumers. When the government dictates which media will or will not be allowed, all media are threatened," said Norton.
Immediate negative impacts after today's vote to ban the Yellow Pages in San Francisco include:
-- Small businesses' ability to use print Yellow Pages to generate new
customers and sales will be harmed, putting storefronts and workers at
risk. Many small businesses do not have an online presence, or find that
Internet advertising isn't the only solution they need to drive traffic.
-- Directories oriented to targeted markets - including Spanish-speaking,
Chinese-speaking, and LGBT communities - would be limited in the
distribution models available to them.
-- The business of publishing and distributing Yellow Pages employs
thousands of people in and around San Francisco. These jobs are now at
risk during a period of high unemployment.
-- Onerous opt-in requirements make the cost of home distribution nearly
impossible for publishers, eliminating the availability of directories
to anyone that wants them and increasing the difficulty of obtaining a
directory for those who need them.
-- A significant inconvenience to the seven in ten adults who used print
directories last year.
"It is unfortunate that the Board of Supervisors relied upon myths about the industry's environmental impact, production processes, financial impact on the community, advertiser ROI and usage statistics. It is also unfortunate that they failed to honor the First Amendment rights of publishers, advertisers and residents of the City," said Larry Angove, president and CEO, Association of Directory Publishers. "We will continue to oppose any attempt to single out the Yellow Pages industry and will be working with supervisors and the Mayor's office to ensure that the truth about this ill-conceived ordinance becomes known.
"The Board of Supervisors has also failed to provide the public with accurate information on potential tax and revenue losses to the city as a result of the legislation, including the decrease in recycling revenues from the city's curbside recycling program or the cost to taxpayers of a court battle over the Constitutionality of such a law."
The industry remains committed to honoring stop-delivery requests from consumers immediately via www.yellowpagesoptout.com, and working with San Francisco residents, and consumers across the country.
The Coalition is made up of publishers, small businesses, labor and consumer groups.
About the Local Search Association
Formerly the Yellow Pages Association, the Local Search Association (www.localsearchassociation.org) is the largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile and social media that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers. Association members include U.S. and international Yellow Pages companies, search engines, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers. The Association has members in 29 countries.
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