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Here at the YPA convention, a panel discussion featuring independent Yellow Pages publishers unveiled one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry. There is a very early effort afoot to combine the three major North American industry trade associations into a single entity.

Each of the three associations — the YPA, the Association of Directory Publishers and the Association of Directory Marketing — has named representatives to see if such an arrangement can be worked out. I spoke with Joe Walsh, CEO of Yellow Book, and he said that most issues can be resolved easily except for one, which is how voting will be weighted. Small publishers and CMRs are unlikely to support something in which the few largest publishers in the industry have a controlling number of votes. If this issue can be solved, then this idea may have legs.

We will write more extensively about this issue in this week’s Local Media Journal.

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