As I posted last week, The City Board of Supervisors in San Francisco held its hearing yesterday and the Yellow Pages Coalition attended in force. Representatives from IBEW, TURN, Seccion Amarilla, the Chinese Yellow Pages, Valley Yellow Pages, AT&T Advertising Solutions, YPA and ADP, as well as a number of loyal Yellow Pages advertisers took their turn at the podium to make their voices heard.
YPA president Neg Norton spoke to the many “misrepresentations” that have been promulgated by Supervisor Chiu, successfully countering each with third-party research and facts. We’ll post Neg’s full testimony here on InsideYP soon.
As each representative spoke in turn, attempting to keep their jobs safe and their small businesses viable, the Yellow Pages value story was clear. With 7 out of 10 US adults using the YP, small businesses continue to rely on our products to reach consumers who are ready to buy.
After listening to the concerned Coalition speakers, it was clear that the industry has no desire to deliver a directory to those who don’t use them, and the speakers repeatedly referenced the industry opt-out site as the solution for San Francisco residents.
It was very frustrating to watch Supervisor Chiu ensure that our Coalition would not receive a fair hearing. From last minute changes in scheduling the vote – to inviting fellow “big government” advocates – to insinuating that our Association is “scaring” publishers into participating in our efforts, we are seeing the very worst of our democratic system. Indeed, even when confronted with the low opt-out rates in San Francisco thus far, Supervisor Chiu seemed to assume that the problem was on our part, rather than the possibility that he has overestimated consumer interest in the subject.
And so, despite the overwhelming facts and jeopardy to jobs and small businesses, the amended proposal (which stipulates that the legislation will take effect May 1, 2012) was passed out of committee. The industry coalition will be working diligently over the next week to influence the other members of the board of supervisors in advance of an expected full board vote on Tuesday, May 10.
We will continue to keep our members posted of the Coalition’s efforts on behalf of the industry.