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The Days of the Traditional Directory Are Numbered

2nd July, 2009

192.com predicts the end of the traditional directory with the launch of its new website

Today, 192.com has struck a nail in the coffin of traditional directories with the launch of its innovative new directory search engine for finding information on people, businesses and places.

With 65% of UK households now with access to a broadband connection[*] and the majority of people now preferring online services for their directory searching, 192.com is declaring an end to the days of merely taking a traditional phonebook and replicating it online. The new 192.com reinvents what online directories can deliver by focusing on the needs of users not advertisers.

In the last decade, whilst the habits and demands of internet users have changed beyond recognition, the approach of traditional directory industry players has hardly changed at all. They have largely replicated their offline business online. As a result, users are served a diet of advertiser listings within the search results instead of the most relevant listings. This is the opposite of what people expect from a search.

The new 192.com is entirely user focused, returning impartial search results best matching the user’s search and not polluted by ads for preferential business listings. In addition, the new site makes no distinction between a yellow pages site, a white pages site and a mapping site – 192.com is a single point of call for more information on people, businesses and places in the UK.

With 700 million records (almost 40 times more than most directories), the new 192.com provides by far the broadest and deepest information available. New tools have been added to help the user navigate the huge amount of data available such as a powerful new search filtering function, deep integration of maps and data and visual devices to convey complex data.

The £800,000 project, which has taken more than a year to complete, allows 192.com’s unrivalled library of databases to be searched and displayed more effectively while making information more useful to users. The new site brings traditional phone databases together with detailed business information, edited Electoral Roll listings, Director and Company reports, property prices and shop front photos. Additionally 192.com now offers users direct access to company credit reports allowing them to check a company’s stability before dealing with them.

192.com has also taken a novel approach to collecting business data. Recognising the in-built limitation of the way traditional directories update business data – a phone call, typically once every 12 to 18 months – 192.com has tapped into the immediacy of change that the web offers. The 192.com web spider visits every UK web site every few weeks to update business information. In the process it has found more than 400,000 business records not found on other directory databases as well as information from other sites relevant to that business such as reviews and blogs.

Dominic Blackburn, Product Director for 192.com comments, "The new 192.com is a much more powerful search tool that gives UK users access to a richness of data not available on any other website. We can see that the business model of traditional yellow pages directories is on borrowed time. New additions like Company Credit Reports and our unique web data go to show that directories can offer users much more online. You certainly wouldn’t fit all the data on 192.com into a phonebook!"

  1. * OFCOM Report – The Consumer Experience, November 2008

About 192.com

192.com is the UK’s leading directory for finding people, business and places. Established in 1997 by Alastair Crawford, founder of UK–Info Disk and Wasabi.com, the multi award winning 192.com has over 6 million regular users accessing unequalled breadth and depth of data. 192.com searches almost 700 million records including free directory enquiries, local business listings, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports. Its premium people finding service is number one in the UK searching Electoral Rolls from 2002 to 2014, Director Reports and Directory Enquiries. 192.com has a wealth of case studies to draw on with thousands of friends and family being reunited through the site every year.

For further information about 192.com, please visit www.192.com.

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.