Yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made an extremely unfortunate choice, on the first reading of the prosposed legislation, to ban Yellow Pages – a move that will put hundreds of San Francisco residents out of work, restrict small businesses’ ability to reach consumers, and disenfranchise seniors, as well as Hispanic, Chinese and LBGT communities.
Along with a local coalition of publishers, small businesses, labor and small business groups, I’m encouraging the Board of Supervisors to reconsider their vote based on the strong negative impact that passage of this ordinance will have the San Francisco community.
The industry is continuing its proactive efforts to provide consumers with the ability to reduce or stop delivery of phone books through its official opt-out site, www.yellowpagesoptout.com. The site accomplishes the Board of Supervisor’s goals, without jeopardizing San Francisco’s fragile economy.
How will yesterday’s vote to ban Yellow Pages in San Francisco negatively impact the economy?
- Small businesses will have a harder time generating 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 – will be limited in the distribution models available to them.
- Thousands of San Francisco citizens involved in the business of publishing and distributing Yellow Pages will be at risk of losing their jobs.
- Onerous opt-in requirements will make the cost of home distribution nearly impossible for publishers, eliminating the availability of directories to anyone who wants them and increasing the difficulty of obtaining a directory for those who need them.
- The seven in ten adults who used print directories last year will be significantly inconvenienced when attempting to locate local businesses.
The Board of Supervisors relied on myths and outright distortions about the industry’s environmental impact, production processes, financial impact on the community, advertiser ROI and usage statistics in making their decision. Our industry will continue to oppose any attempt to single out the Yellow Pages industry and will be working with the Supervisors and the Mayor’s office to ensure that the truth about this ill-conceived ordinance becomes known.
We will also inform the public about the potential tax and revenue losses to the city as a result of this 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.