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Phone Book On the Outs

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Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal

Few things are as automatic as the annual arrival of your white pages phone book.

But that might not be the case for long in the Albuquerque area.

Dex Media, which publishes directories for CenturyLink, has built a case – now before state regulators – for stopping saturation distribution of the residential phone books to metro households.

It wants distribution on a per-request basis. You will need to ask for one.

“It will bring delivery into alignment with current environmental practices, consumer usage patterns, and customer demand,” Chris Hardman, director of communications for parent company Dex One, told the Journal in an email.

“While yellow pages are used in 70 percent of households each year and continue to be an important advertising medium for small businesses, there are drastic declines in demand for and usage of residential white pages, especially in metropolitan areas, such as Albuquerque,” he said.

The PRC has begun the process to consider modifying the rule that requires saturation distribution, with a hearing set for Oct. 23.

Utility economist Georgette Ramie of the PRC staff said Dex requested an expedited hearing as the deadline to order its new directories is fast approaching. It typically delivers Albuquerque area books in January.

Dex says consumers today rely less on print media for name and business searches. In response, it says it offers digital platforms such as DexKnows.com and Dex Mobile. It says it also publishes its print directories in a digital format at www.DexPages.com.

The company says it is not paid for publishing directories, earning most of its revenue from business advertising in the business white pages and yellow pages, which are both in one book. Those books will continue to be mass distributed, with opt-out opportunities, Hardman said. Dex makes little from the residential white pages.

A number of states have already repealed or relaxed requirements for saturation deliveries, the company says. Dex recently moved to full on-request delivery in Las Vegas, Nev.

CenturyLink said it supports limiting wasteful distribution, but has concerns consumers might have to jump through “too many hoops” to order directories.

Hardman said Dex One will have an easy online site to opt in, plus a toll-free number.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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