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The Brownbook: Free Online Local Business Directory Helps Consumers Identify the Good and the Bad Traders
The Brownbook: Free Online Local Business Directory Helps Consumers Identify the Good and the Bad Traders
|By PR Newswire
|February 4, 2008 11:17 AM EST
LONDON, February 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Brownbook (http://www.brownbook.net) launches its UK service today -
a free and open wiki-type 'local business directory' website that lets
consumers add and find local businesses, rate them and add reviews.
The Brownbook breaks the monopoly of big directory companies and gives
the power back to the people. It is the UK's first 'peer-produced' online
Based on the 'anyone-can-instantly-edit' principles pioneered by the
online encyclopaedia Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org), The Brownbook aims
to do for the local directory market what Wikipedia has done for the
encyclopaedia market; namely, to provide a service that is more complete and
more accurate than the existing local directory services; that allows people
to have their say; that anyone can use for free, and that lets even the
smallest business promote itself at zero cost.
According to recent research commissioned by comScore and The Kelsey
Group into US-based local review sites, ninety-seven per cent of consumers
said they made a purchase based on an online review as they believed this to
be more accurate.
"We built The Brownbook because we wanted an impartial service, one based
on people’s experiences and preferences so others can share their confidence
when making purchasing decisions," comments one of the Brownbook founders,
Jerry Brown. "Some businesses really care about the service they give, but
often we seem to experience bad service from businesses that just don't care.
Aside from telling a few friends about it we can't really make ourselves
heard and bad businesses continue to get away with it. Conversely, businesses
that give good service don't really get the recognition and commendation they
"With over 2.2 million local businesses already listed, The Brownbook is
putting more power back into the hands of consumers, giving us a platform to
be heard all over the web. We firmly believe that the days of the rogue
trader are numbered." continues Brown.
Due to the open nature of The Brownbook, anyone without registering can
add reviews for any business - positive or negative - and if the business you
want to review isn't there it takes you a matter of seconds to add it,
further increasing the power of the service for future users. Frequent
visitors can optionally register with The Brownbook if they want to develop a
sense of 'reputation' behind their reviews and edits. They will also receive
their own 'user page' which lets them tell other members about themselves in
addition to tracking any reviews or edits they've made at anytime.
But it's not all doom and gloom for businesses
Smart businesses can use The Brownbook to promote their business and its
reputation. By encouraging satisfied customers to give positive testimonials
any business can build up its local credibility.
Business owners can claim and promote their business listings for a small
annual subscription that costs less than a box of pens. The Brownbook system
alerts them any time a review or any other updates are made, and they can add
photos and videos of their business as well as rich business details like
opening times, special promotions, and any other information useful for
customers. And all these can be changed or updated by the business owner at
any time at no extra cost by simply going online to http://www.brownbook.net.
The Brownbook will also be launching in the US in the second quarter of
2008, and plans to be in four countries by the end of the year.
About the Founders
The Brownbook was founded by two senior ex-directory industry executives
who saw the potential of creating a 'user-created' local directory.
Brown explains, "We knew that the big directory companies had monopolised
the local directory business for decades, charging businesses high prices to
advertise and giving no way for consumers to judge the credibility of
businesses. We wanted to give the businesses and the consumers more power,
and when we saw Wikipedia, we realised it was the perfect concept. We set
about building The Brownbook by embracing wiki principles of 'anyone-can-
edit', and simultaneously removing any need to understand technology or any
special computer language or syntax. The result is a local directory service
where anyone can add businesses, edit, or add reviews; and one that puts
total control into the hands of the businesses and consumers."
There's more on the ethos and beliefs behind The Brownbook on our blog:
Available for comment
The founders of The Brownbook are always available for comment on news
and features related to: business directories, local search, local social
search, wiki, peer-production, user generated content, social networking
rogue traders and local reviews.
About The Brownbook
The Brownbook is the UK's first user-created local business directory
where anyone can edit and anyone can review. The business is owned and run by
the founders and it is independent of any of the existing directory
More information on The Brownbook is here: http://forum.brownbook.net
Email: [email protected]
Press area: http://blog.brownbook.net/press/
Contacts: Jerry Brown, Email: [email protected], Phone: +44-208-1235-466, Blog: http://blog.brownbook.net, Forum: http://forum.brownbook.net, Press area: http://blog.brownbook.net/press/
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