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We noted with interest on RHD’s latest earnings call that it has removed cover ads from its SBC-branded directories in Illinois, the logic being that cover ads make it harder for the publisher to distinguish its brand from its competitors. We think this is a smart decision, and one others should take heed of.

Too many books have taken on an indistinguishable appearance as they cave into the temptation of premium revenue and fail to protect their identity as a directory brand. The cover is where publishers advertise themselves. There is plenty of space elsewhere in the book for customers to promote their wares. Usage is king, and cover ads are not beneficial to usage. Hats off to RHD for making this decision, which may product a short-term revenue hit, but will pay off over the long haul.

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