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How's That Ad Campaign Doing? -- Search Me!

Ever have one of those weeks when a lot of things you take for granted begin to change on you?

Take last week, for example. Under legislation that came up before San Francisco's Board of Supervisors (pdf), that city -- popularly derided for taking away innocent tykes' fast-food toys and prying plastic bags out of shoppers' cold not-yet-dead hands -- could become the first in the United States to ban the unsolicited distribution of the Yellow Pages.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Rachel Gordon reports that the proposal would bar phone companies and other distributors and publishers of Yellow Pages phone books from leaving the material on doorsteps and in building lobbies without first getting permission to do so. (White pages are exempted from the proposal.)

According to board president David Chiu, who's spearheading the measure, many of the estimated 1.5 million-plus Yellow Pages distributed in the city each year get tossed -- unopened -- in recycling bins (or worse, presumably).

"If we're serious about the environment, it's time we recognize that phone books are a 20th century tool that doesn't meet the business or environmental needs of the 21st century," Chiu says.

However, a trade group for the $13 billion-a-year industry says it would consider a legal challenge if the measure winds up being approved in its current form, which the industry views as an infringement on speech rights.

Meanwhile, Google last week accused Microsoft's Bing search engine of stealing and copying its search results (as Google claims to have discovered through a "sting" operation). Also last week, it was reported that the Internet is running out of IP addresses (not counting, of course, a new form of IP addresses, whose numbers are 340 undecillion long).

So, let's recap the potential scenarios here: The Yellow Pages are headed for the dustbin of history; Microsoft is accused of playing Jennifer Jason Leigh to Google's Bridget Fonda; and the Internet has discovered the end of the world as we know it. Sort of makes you want to invest some of your advertising budget in carrier pigeons.

When was the last time you paid for a Yellow Pages ad, by the way?

Written by Law.com managing editor Paula Martersteck.

Posted by Laurel Newby on February 8, 2011 at 03:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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