Harris: 87% of Americans surveyed prefer opt-in for residential white pages delivery

These days it's not just traditional phone line subscriptions that are dropping. The popularity of the traditional several-inches-thick phone book appears to be sinking as well. That is the word from WhitePages.com and its aptly named Ban The Phone Book campaign, which says seven out of 10 Americans rarely or never use the white pages phone book for looking up numbers.

In WhitePages.com's December 2010 online study, performed on their behalf by Harris Interactive, 87 percent of those surveyed said they supported opt-in initiatives in which the phone book would only be delivered if they requested it. Sixty percent find the contact information they need through online channels such as directories and search engines.

Of course, these results support the position of a company that is looking for more customers to use its services online, but their Ban The Phone Book campaign, which is running an online petition and works to convince regulators in various U.S. states to drop the requirement to provide a printed phone book to every resident, does make some salient points. Only 22 percent of the adults surveyed by Harris recycle their phone books each year, and some five million trees and $17 million in taxpayer money is used in their production.

Tier 1 carriers AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have also been working to convince lawmakers to rescind the phone book requirement. Verizon has succeeded in doing so in five states: New Jersey, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

AT&T has convinced some counties in Texas, Missouri, and Wisconsin to stop requiring printed white pages, and last month succeeded in getting the residential white pages removed from Tulsa, Okla. phone books.

Phone book survey

For more:
- see the news release
- the Tulsa World has this article

Related articles:
FairPoint has no plans to stop delivering white pages in New Hampshire
Verizon petitions Maryland, Virginia regulators to stop printing white pages