Buy local. Hire or trade out with delivery vendors that advertise in your books.


Use local delivery vendors.

Hand deliver the yellow pages to the door. Don't go postal.

Above: To cut costs, the US Postal Service leased a fleet of new bulk mail collection and delivery vehicles for telephone directories."Trucking mail directly from printers to landfills will save the post office money. Compared to mail going to neighborhood cluster mailboxes and post office boxes, it will be about as effective for advertisers," said a postal spokesperson. Yellow page advertisers are concerned about the massive usage drop when publishers switch from to-the-door delivery to junk mail. "Junk mail is the timeshare of advertising," said a law firm marketing director.  /satire

 

Fresno California Channel 30 Action News related story:
Residents in northwest Fresno neighborhood irritated with mail service
https://abc30.com/5800468/

 
 
USPS mandates new direct-to-landfill bulk mail class for yellow pages and catalogs.

Postal rates increased.

USPS-mandated migration to centralized neighborhood mailboxes and post offices boxes accelerated.

Yellow page advertisers concerned about 75% drop in usage from mailing books versus to-the-door delivery. 

  

A mostly serious but partly satirical investigative report by Ima Kidding

 
 
The USPS introduced a new bulk mail class this month that includes major postal rate increases for directory and catalog publishers. The new bulk mail category is called BDSM - Bulk Discarded Sales Material.

 

Yellow pages circulation is primarily divided into mail jobs and hand jobs. Mail jobs are typically reserved for very small markets. The vast majority of yellow page deliveries are hand-delivered jobs, books that are carried to the front door by private, non-postal delivery workers. "Nothing beats hand jobs," said one executive.

 

Private, non-postal delivery features greater flexibility than mail delivery such as excluding multi-unit housing, trailer parks, post office boxes, and neighborhoods with heavy concentrations of student housing and college dormitories or other demographics. Private delivery workers can also do pick-up recovery sweeps to appease environmentalists and city governments and prioritize advertiser-intensive neighborhoods. Excluding certain housing types not only reduces delivery costs but can slash or stretch print orders. The most critical feature of hand delivery is considerably higher usage rates compared to mailed books.

 

"The vast majority of yellow pages are delivered to the door. The concern is that, with so many directory delivery companies shuttered, a publisher might resort to mailing more books. Bulk mailing a directory sends the signal to advertisers that the edition is on its last legs," explained a marketing consultant. "If the publisher doesn't care enough to deliver the book directly to the door, maybe local businesses shouldn't bother advertising in it."

 

"Most publishers have added digital advertising services but the printed directory provides critical brand name recognition," explained an industry advocate. "Most importantly, the annual print sales call provides the opportunity to sell digital products. The print directory is the only reason why many business owners will take a sales call from the publisher sales rep. Without the print product, any of the thousands of other digital sales reps will do just as good."

 

"Yellow pages circulated by mail? Yeah, there's nothing like getting a phone book along with a stack of bills and a notice from the IRS in the mail that makes me NOT want to spend. Getting the book delivered to my front door, in contrast, was enough encouragement for me to call a contractor to install a swimming pool," said a homeowner.


"I spent all that time opting out of phone book deliveries," said another homeowner. "Did the phone book company switch to mailing books because the postal service does not have a do-not-mail program like the do-not-call registry?"

 

A marketing professor explained: "The old saying 'the check is in the mail' has two universal meanings. First, it's a lie. The check isn't in the mail. And secondly, incompetence. Even if the check was in the mail, the postal service invariably lost it. Do publishers want to associate themselves with that? If a check in the mail isn't worth anything, what is a phone book in the mail worth?" 

 

"Other industries have no choice but to use the U.S. Mail, especially given the government-mandated monopoly on first class delivery. Directory publishers, however, have the volume and per-piece weights to make private sector delivery vendors not only economically viable but actually preferable. Everybody complains about the post office so why partner with them when you don't have to?" asked the professor.  

 

"Exclusive door to door delivery is critical to getting books into homes. During the recent fires, Californians were saved by the life-saving emergency information included in local phone directories," said a representative of the industry trade association YippiYiYay (formerly YPA, YPPA, YPIMA).

 

Not everyone agrees. The cities of San Francisco and Seattle banned the delivery of phone books. Yellow page publishers and its trade associations spent a fortune fighting the bans. Directory industry supporters successfully argued that local businesses and their employees depend upon the print yellow pages for their livelihood.

 

One publisher dissented: "Yeah, other books certainly justify door-to-door delivery but not ours. That's why we're switching our format to co-op junk mail. Print has matured and junk mail is despised so we're gonna double down and combine the two. I hope this works. My idea of drive-through abortion clinics didn't pan out so well so I need to replenish my wife's 401K before she notices."

 

Advertising sales prospect: "So my ad will be inside a phone book, inside a post office, inside a mailbox, six miles from the consumer's home while your competitor's book will be on the hinge side of front doors, literally inches from inside homes?"

 


The most critical reason for not using direct mail to circulate phone books:

Yellow page advertisers have always competed with other advertisers in the same phone book. With mailed phone books, yellow page ads also have to compete with direct mail ads in the same mailbox.

 

"Which gets noticed...the standalone direct mail piece or the ad in the bottom quarter of page 200 of the phone book in the mailbox stuffed with other standalone direct mail pieces?” lamented a yellow pages sales manager. "Good luck meeting quotas."

 

"The yellow pages is already a co-op advertising medium. Bulk mailing the yellow pages is like sticking a co-op inside a co-op," complained an advertiser. "I might as well just mail my own ads."

 

Mail delivery destroys usage.

Above: Response rates dropped in half in the tiny distance from the front door to the curbside mailbox. Usage rates dropped in half again when going from curbside mailboxes to neighborhood cluster mailboxes. When the postal service requires residents to pick up their mail at the local post office...forget it. [Source:  https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2015/rarc-wp-15-009_0.pdf]

 

Advertising response rates doubled when going from cluster mailboxes to curbside delivered mail. And then the response rate doubled again when going the very short distance from the curb to the front door according to the US Postal Service's own research.

 

"I assume the yellow pages sales rep is going to cut my display ad rate in half given the reduced effectiveness of bulk-mailed phone books," said the marketing director of a regional law firm. "I hate to be blunt but this is like going from a chauffeured limousine to a city bus. We expect a discount."


 

The US Postal Service wants to deliver more phone books according to one postmaster: "We'll put the private delivery companies out of business then jack up postal rates to cover our sweet pensions." Others disagree, arguing that the postal rate increases and service cutbacks are parts of a plan to discourage volume and allow the USPS to drop unprofitable mail categories and rural deliveries.

 

Citing the success of the privatization of space exploration and prisons, the Trump administration reportedly plans to order the privatization of the US Postal Service in 2020 or 2021. The plan is to massively centralize residential deliveries, re-focus on e-commerce package delivery, then break up and sell off all or parts of the postal network. https://fortune.com/2019/12/27/usps-privatization-postal-service-going-private/

 

Private USPS buyers may focus on package delivery and drop unprofitable sectors including delivery services for competing advertising media such as yellow pages, newspapers, and junk mailers. This would lead publishers with no feasible means of circulation. "Then, it is lights out. If you think you can count on the USPS being around, well, I've got some Blockbuster Video stock to sell ya," commented an industry analyst.

 

"There is a reason Amazon started its own delivery network. Mail is not guaranteed by the Constitution. Phones, commercial delivery, mass media, the Internet, and email have all made snail mail as necessary as the Pony Express," the expert explained. "Prisons have been privatized. Space exploration has been very successfully privatized. The Postal Service is next."

 

Postal officials refused to deny that the higher rates and discontinued services are intended to discourage volume. Instead, they stressed that, while postage rates indeed increased substantially, the new service decreases the amount of mail preparation that must be performed by yellow page and catalog publishers. Postal executives claim the result will be a net savings for publishers.

 

The USPS Domestic Mail Manual is over 1,300 pages of regulations. "No one wants to print millions of dollars worth of phone books only to find out that the books don't qualify for the USPS bulk mail category of 'flats.' A post card is flat. A phone book is flat. The earth is flat. How flat does flat need to be?" asked one executive." The new BDSM bulk mail category addresses that complexity. A postmaster explained: "If it fits, it ships. And by 'fit' I mean the landfill."

 

In contrast to previous classes of bulk mail, BDSM requires no pre-sorting. With the new class, the postal service bypasses traditional interim mail stops such as homes and businesses. Printers simply truck palletized directories and catalogs directly to the nearest USPS-approved landfill.

 

Pictured below:

BEFORE- In the left photo: Overflowing mail at a neighborhood cluster mailbox station.

AFTER - In the right photo: Mail carriers skip mailbox delivery with bulk drops at a landfill.

Cluster mailboxes or clusterf---?


Postal officials argued that the higher rates and reduced service levels are economically necessary. The USPS has been operating in the red for years. Declining first class mail volumes and ballooning retirement pension and healthcare costs are the main culprits.

 

A USPS spokesperson acknowledged that shipping truckloads of freshly printed yellow page directories and catalogs directly to landfills is an unprecedented waste. “In no way does this reflect the value of these advertising mediums. Catalogs and yellow pages still provide advertisers with a great rate of return,” explained the spokesperson. “The problem is that the postal service has to raise rates and cut services which then reduces mail volume in an infinite loop death cycle.”

 

Asked to expand further on the service cuts, the USPS spokesperson explained: “To save money, the postal service has been phasing out curbside and door-to-door mail delivery over the years, a trend that has been accelerating. Instead of delivering to each home, the postal service is transitioning to single stops within neighborhoods and residential subdivisions. These single stops are neighborhood cluster mailboxes. Article: Resident challenges Postal Service over mailboxes for third time in 30 years https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/yakima-resident-challenges-postal-service-over-mailboxes-for-third-time/article_de3eb01a-0604-5f06-ada9-a103c026bfd8.html

 

"UPS, FedEx, and Amazon always deliver to the door. Not the US Postal Service. How long do you think it will be before no one ships packages by mail? The postal service has become the Kmart of delivery services," commented a business owner.

 

"Even the Social Security Administration stopped mailing checks because senior citizens would rather eat cat food than check their mail" said one career postal worker. "And those centralized mailboxes? We call them 'trailer park mailboxes.' It looks a little too Southern. Even Southerners don't want them. 'Too trashy for us,' they say."

 

"But those cluster box locks are so cheap that children can break into them and do. So then we force residents to rent a mailbox at the post office downtown. So we save money by not delivering the mail and by renting post office boxes. The public loves to drive half an hour to stand in line another half hour to get a phone book. The local TV, newspaper, and radio news media then runs stories dissing two of their competitors in one shot: direct mail and yellow pages," complained a dejected directory salesman. https://www.ksby.com/news/local-news/2019/07/02/cluster-mailbox-placed-in-santa-maria-neighborhood-after-mail-delivery-was-temporarily-stopped

 

Cluster box break-ins got so bad that some homeowner associations installed tougher, heavier duty mailboxes. But then thieves would steal the entire mailbox units just for the metal. https://www.azfamily.com/news/cluster-mailbox-stolen-from-mesa-neighborhood/article_4796d614-2062-11ea-991f-4b7b5d8cd842.html

 

“With these cluster mailboxes, residents have their car keys in one hand, maybe a dog leash or Starbucks or mace in the other hand, all while trying to fumble with the key to the mailbox. The key will go in but not turn so they will attempt to re-insert it upside down two or three times. That’s just how mailbox keys work. Meanwhile, the postal customer is standing in often freezing or hot temperatures, probably late for work, so they stick the VISA bill or IRS letter in a pocket and instinctively toss everything else in the 55-gallon trash bins that are just a few feet away. And if they just happen to grab all their mail, much of it will stay in the car until the spouse cleans it out at the car wash. In contrast, a book placed against a front door only has to travel inches to be inside the home.”

 

With auto-pay and online bill paying becoming ubiquitous, many households no longer receive paper bills so folks may not even bother to check their mail. And when they do, the box is likely to be full, just begging to be dumped.

 

Many phone books are also too big to fit into mailboxes. Mail carriers then place the books on top of the cluster units where they get destroyed by rain. Sooner or later, homeowners experience some incident in which they need the yellow pages, for example a leaking roof or medical emergency. They then drive or crawl to the neighborhood cluster mailbox station only to find that the same storm that took out their house also blew away the phone books. And then there are people that horde all the books for the coupons.

 

Retail clerks love it when the yellow pages are mailed. “The phones finally stop ringing. The work day goes by so much easier without customers,” said one retail worker. In contrast, yellow page advertisers aren't happy to have their ads buried in a pile of junk mail.

 

Mail carriers deal with full mailboxes by leaving notices telling residents to pick up mail overflow at the  post office. “Oh, I just love driving for half an hour to wait in a long line at the post office for a package that turns out to be the phone book that used to be delivered to my front door,” said one advertiser sarcastically.

 

“At one point, we considered replacing the neighborhood cluster mailboxes with dumpsters,” noted a postal official. “In the end, we decided it would be more efficient for the semi tractor trailers to simply deliver the pallets of junk mail directly to landfills,” explained a postal spokesperson."

 

"To save money, the postal service has also started hiring illegal aliens to support their socialist agenda of universal mail. No, not those illegal aliens. Real aliens," claims a Fox News reporter. "There's even a documentary about it called Men In Black."

 

“Neighborhood cluster mailboxes are just the beginning,” said another postal service spokesperson. “Phase two is to phase out the neighborhood cluster mailboxes and require consumers to pick up their mail from mailboxes housed in their nearest post office. We force rural residents to drive to the downtown post office to pick up their mail. We tell people in town that, since they live so close to the post office, they must use PO boxes. We're like the Soup Nazi except without the soup. We'll use dog bites, especially pugs, to force neighborhoods to cluster boxes. Phase three is to close post offices altogether and require consumers to pick up their mail directly from the person that mails them."
Wall Street Journal: Postal Service Eyes Closing Thousands of Post Offices
https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704881304576094000352599050

 

The migration to neighborhood cluster mailboxes hasn’t been without additional problems. Neighborhoods consisting of cluster homes almost never have vacant lots for new cluster mailbox stations and associated parking. The USPS requires home builders and developers to foot the bill to install the mailbox facilities but many of the original home builders are out of business, retired, or passed away. https://wtvr.com/2019/12/17/chesterfield-cluster-mailbox-psi/

 

The local postmaster explained "We mailed them notices that door-to-door delivery was discontinued for their neighborhood but I guess they didn't get our letters. Home owners can look in the phone book that they didn’t get to find a mailbox installation company. They could try writing their congressman but, hey, good luck with that. Curb service means we, well, curb service," he added. "And somehow we have not received a single letter of complaint - probably because we didn't pick up their mail, lol." The United States Postmaster General explained "Americans are lazy and fat. They need to get off their ass and get their own damn mail."

 

"In a few years, we'll convert everyone to mailboxes. We'll put them in schools so that little Johnny can just bring home the coupons along with this homework assignment," said the Postmaster. "It's a great way to stick it to boomers, you know, the ones most likely to use our biggest competitor, print yellow pages."

 

Skipping phone book deliveries to neighborhood cluster boxes does have one disadvantage for the US Postal Service said one postmaster. “Nothing screams ‘switch to direct mail’ like yellow page publishers circulating their books by direct mail. Their advertisers will eventually figure it out and cut out the middleman, the phone book publishers, and work directly with the USPS,” commented one postal official. A Google executive gleefully added “Nothing says print yellow pages are a waste better than a waste bin full of yellow pages.” /satire

 

Few national or regional directory delivery vendors remain but publishers can supplement existing vendors by buying local. Publishers can hire or trade out with delivery companies specializing in coupons, door hangers, and TMC publications. Staffing companies and temp agencies can provide delivery labor.

 

We can help.

Using delivery kits or route maps from DirectoryDistribution.com, anyone can quickly and easily deliver phone books. Hire and manage your own delivery crews or provide route maps to one or more delivery vendors, fund-raising groups, or teams of temps or staffing agency laborers. The distribution kits facilitate standardization and prevent missing or overlapping deliveries when using multiple crews or vendors. DirectoryDistribution.com yellow page route kits have been used for over 100 million deliveries.

 


DirectoryDistribution.com
Cross Park Plaza / AMS Technology Center Complex
9111 Cross Park Drive, Building D, Suites 200, 285
Knoxville, TN 37923

1-888-585-6933
(865) 801-8167

Info@DirectoryDistribution.com