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The Kelsey Report® Advisory

Verizon Suit Challenges Yellow Book TV Ads, Sales Tactics
Charles Laughlin , 1/27/2004

SUMMARY: Verizon Information Services has filed a lawsuit against its archrival Yellow Book USA, charging that the independent publisher has misled advertisers and violated truth-in-advertising laws with its claim that "more people choose Yellow Book than the Other Book." Verizon also claims Yellow Book has armed its sales force with erroneous statistics. Verizon is asking the court to order Yellow Book to retract and correct its ads, and is also seeking damages. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern New York, contends that Verizon's research, conducted by the Gallup organization, consistently shows its directories have a majority share of usage in markets where the two publishers compete. Yellow Book USA has issued a statement pointing out that the ad campaign has been running for two years without challenge and argues the Verizon suit is a tactic to ward off Yellow Book's growing competitive challenge. Whatever the merits of the suit, it is clearly a sign of the growing intensity of competition in the U.S. Yellow Pages industry, and is unlikely to be the final shot of the war. It is more like an opening volley.

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