Yellow pages mail circulation presents a number of problems.

Above: Among the reasons to avoid mailed yellow pages circulation: bad optics, drastically lowered usage, and upset consumers and advertisers. To-the-door hand delivery is much better.


Amazon, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, Instacart, and so on. With home delivery all the rage, why switch to mailing yellow pages now?


I'm not one of those people that habitually disses the post office. Yeah, we talked some smack in the satire version of this article. But seriously, it's pretty amazing to have a letter delivered from New York to Honolulu for just half a buck or whatever a first class postage stamp costs these days. Try that with FedEx and see what it runs ya.

Advertisers: "If a single business can afford door hangers, there's no reason entire books full of ads can't be delivered to the door." Home delivery has always been an integral part of the yellow pages product but with GrubHub, DoorDash, Amazon, Postmates, Instacart, and everybody else rushing emphasizing home delivery, it's more critical than ever, perhaps even a selling point.

Usage falls off cliff without door delivery

Above: US Postal Service's own research shows that usage drops off cliff when not delivered to the door.

Full disclosure, we're a competitor to the post office. Of course, as a yellow pages sales rep, you also compete with direct mail so we're on the same side.

We at don't actually deliver any books ourselves. We focus on helping publishers cut print and delivery costs by re-scoping markets into sub-ZIP Code sized scoping and delivery zones. Our stake is only 1 to 3 pennies a book. So, yes, we have a dog in this race but it is a tiny little Chihuahua.

Digital sales reps may not think they have much of a dog in this race either but printed directories provide tons of brand recognition. Without the printed directory, advertisers may not have a reason to see a publisher rep at all; any of the other thousands of digital sales reps would do. And print still pays the rent for many publishers.

Junk mail is me-too advertising.

I'm definitely not saying that directory publishers should never mail books. Have a tiny book published in a mountainous Alaskan village in the dead of winter? Mail it. It may also make sense to mail sparsely-populated areas on the outside edges of larger markets. And when your book reaches magazine size, go ahead and mail that too since the gig is about up anyway. But publishers with healthy books should avoid mailed circulation for as long as possible.

To-the-door delivery is critical. That's why the yellow pages industry spent a fortune fighting delivery bans in San Francisco, Seattle, and other cities.  

Usage drops in half in the tiny distance between the front door and curbside mailboxes. Usage drops 75% when delivered to centralized neighborhood cluster mailboxes. And if consumers have to drive all the way to the post office...forget it.

The US Postal Service is committed to the centralization of mail delivery. They have to. Last year, the postal service lost $8 billion. They have billions and billions of unfunded retiree pension and healthcare costs. To cut costs, the US Postal Service is committed to moving as many addresses as possible to neighborhood cluster and post office mailboxes.

The optics are also devastating. Nothing says no one uses phone books more than those big trash bins, invariably placed within feet of cluster mailboxes, full of brand new phone books.

Don't eat yellow snow. Don't mail yellow pages.

The cost of mailing isn't limited to postage. The true cost includes radically reduced usage, lost advertiser accounts, and demoralized sales reps.

Yellow page advertisers are paying for circulation. They expect books to be delivered to the door. If they wanted direct mail, they would have invested in direct mail, not the yellow pages.

Read what the media and industry insiders  have to say about the subject at  (Includes some satire.)
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