Stop killing more trees



A pilot project in Auckland has reached the obvious conclusion that paper phone books aren’t really wanted any longer.  If you want one, you need to ask for it.

For the first time, Aucklanders will this year have to request a copy of the White Pages telephone directory.

The decision came after 75 per cent of Aucklanders wanted the chance to “opt in”, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by Yellow.

Every year, about 6.5 million phone books are distributed around New Zealand.

Research from Nielsen in 2010 found only 41 per cent of people aged 15 and over used the White Pages.

The pilot is being run just in Auckland this year, and the company is watching the reaction before deciding whether it will be rolled out nation-wide.

Yellow are basically in charge of their own demise here.  Because the inevitable, that the Yellow Pages becomes opt-in as well, isn’t that far off.

As more and more people have access to computers, iPads, tablets and smart phones, the mere concept of a nationally distributed, compulsory paper directory is becoming absurd.

For Yellow to survive, it needs to for the Yellow Pages be viable.  And in most New Zealand regions, the White and Yellow directories are part of a single volume.

How to opt out of the White Pages when it is stuck to the Yellow ones?

Anyway, I suspect it is one of the very few times you’ll find me and Gareth Hughes on the same side of an issue.

… the Green Party welcomed the opt-in system and said it was great news for the environment and for people who “don’t read, need or want a phone book”.

The Greens’ information and communications technology spokesman, Gareth Hughes, said NZ was one of the few countries where it is compulsory to deliver phone books to households that don’t even want them.

“Moving to a more sensible option for the White Pages is a great start but the same choice should also be extended for the Yellow Pages commercial directory. Making phone book delivery optional is a smart decision,” he said.

Yellow is under contract to provide White Pages directories to New Zealand homes under the Telecommunications Service Obligation, a historic agreement between Telecom and the Crown.

I’m sure there are nice requirements for paper directories, such as motels, phone boxes and old people that still have an analog television (won’t they get a shock soon?).  But for the rest of us, paper directories should be something that’s on the way out.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.