Yellow Pages are Legal in Seattle

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It’s always a bad sign when your business model is being outlawed by the city council, as what happened to the Yellow Page business in Seattle in 2010.

Yellow Pages


From The Seattle Times:

The City Council voted in 2010 to crack down on unwanted delivery of the phone books. In addition to the opt-out registry, the city charged the companies that distribute the phone books $100 each for a business license plus a per-book charge for every one delivered (plus fines of up to $125 for deliveries to households that had opted out). It had included a disposal fee for unwanted directories that ended up at the recycling center, but that was repealed before it went into effect. There also was a per-book fee to pay for running the opt-out system.

The reasoning behind the ordinance was that the city was stuck with recycling so many unwanted books that were simply left on the curb because consumers never wanted them in the first place.

The publishers sued and they won based on a freedom of speech argument.  The city may now settle for $500,000 rather than appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

This is good news for the industry in that you can’t outlaw their business model but the underlying consumer dislike of the printed Yellow Pages remains.

It wasn’t that long ago that advertising in the Yellow Pages was a must for local dealers.  We’ve come a long way.


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