A breathless and hyperbolic press release landed in my inbox yesterday afternoon after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban Yellow Pages from the city. The Local Search Association, described as "the largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile and social media that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers," is up in arms and claims that the ban will "put hundreds of San Francisco residents out of work, restrict small businesses' ability to reach customers, and disenfranchise seniors, as well as Hispanic, Chinese and LGBT communities." The group makes several dubious claims in their press release but a couple stick out to me.
- Directories oriented to targeted markets - including Spanish-speaking, Chinese-speaking, and LGBT communities - would be limited in the distribution models available to them.
- A significant inconvenience to the seven in ten adults who used print directories last year.
Back in Indianapolis we'd complain every time the big books landed on doorsteps in our neighborhoods since they cluttered up the street in front of vacant houses and we just took it straight to the trash. Here in DC the condo building picked up the stack of them and took them directly to the recycling bin, so I'm extremely doubtful of that statistic about having so many users.
Do any of you still use the Yellow Pages? And when was the last time you used a print directory to find LGBT-specific businesses outside of a gay newspaper? Would you be "disenfranchised" if the Yellow Pages were banned in your town? (img src)