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Green laws may hurt Yellow Pages industry

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Rockville, Md.—Environmental ordinances in Seattle and San Francisco, which are being fought in court by publishers, threaten the $13.5 billion Yellow Pages industry, according to a new report from Simba Information. The report, “Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2011,” estimates that such laws, if implemented in the top 20 markets, would reduce Yellow Pages revenue in the top 20 markets by $500 million annually. The San Francisco law requires that consumers opt in to receive directories. The Seattle law has an opt-out model, but requires a 14 cents-per-book predistribution fee and a licensing requirement. “Either model will be devastating to the Yellow Pages publishers in the metropolitan areas,” David Goddard, senior analyst for Simba Information and author of the report, said in a statement. “With over 56 million books in circulation in the top 20 markets, San Francisco's model will lead to revenue decline, as publishers will recover roughly 10% of their current distribution, and Seattle''s will lead to a significant upfront cost.”
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