What do you get when you ask a YPA staff vice president to ask six board members questions in front of the membership? In short, not a lot of controversy. That's nobody's fault. It's just the environment.
Stephanie Hobbs, who managed the best YPA conference in memory, had the difficult task of trying to pull interesting comments from a group of publishers who mostly looked like they were there only because they got the short end of the straw. YPG's Marc Tellier even bought an entire Yellow Pages company to avoid his scheduled participation.
Will there be consolidation in Internet Yellow Pages? SBC's Denny Payne says yes. Verizon's Kathy Harless agreed, but added, "but not the way you expect." I would have loved to have followed up that comment.
To a question from the audience about what they are doing to reverse the revenue decline, Dave Swanson of RHD underscored the importance of building usage and getting people, "focused on the value we bring to the marketplace." Volt's Gerry DiPippo volunteered that independents do well in opening new markets. New BAPCO President Ike Harris said the industry needs to spend more money on advertising to tell the value story. He followed that up with the interesting comment that they are lookinig at the "revenue/margin" issue.
George Burnett's voice was the most forceful in the group, and he had one of the best lines. "If you think the last five years were interesting, tape up your socks because the next five years will be wild."