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Conferences tend to reflect how the business is right now. When business is struggling, publishers will either put a numerical limit on the total number of employees that can attend an event or institute the more draconian requirement that everyone who goes to an event must be approved by the boss.

Based on this unscientific approach, the directory publishing business is in good shape. The YPA, the ADP and the EADP are all anticipating more attendees in 2005 than they had in 2004. The YPA is full with 60 exhibitors and a long waiting list. Similarly, the ADP sold out nearly all of their 52 booths the first day they went on sale.

All three trade associations have experienced membership growth over the last few months. They say they are getting a mixture of traditional publishers and technology companies. This suggests that publishers, suppliers, agencies and investors have confidence in the Yellow Pages business, broadly defined. We agree.

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