Experts estimate there are more than two thousand on-line yellow pages. Many of these directories focus on specific industries or subjects, but a growing number are information-rich general shopping guides.
"There is no doubt that the Internet provides a great platform for yellow pages and other forms of directories," says John Joseph, president of Ketchum Directory Advertising, one of the country's largest yellow pages ad agencies. "Consumers are finding these directories to be very powerful tools for shopping and that will only increase as access to the Internet becomes available and affordable to more households."
One trend in on-line yellow pages, according to Joseph, is to provide business listings within the context of local or national "content"-news and information about a specific community or subject matter such as travel, computers, automobiles or home remodeling. On-line directories are partnering with newspapers, magazines and other media companies to provide these services. America Online is working with Chicago's Tribune Company to set up a series of Digital Cities across the country.
Search engines are another fertile area for yellow pages since these are the sites people turn to when they are looking for information. Ketchum's Joseph points to Infoseek and Yahoo! as examples of major search engines that offer access to yellow pages listings. Infoseek features Big Yellow, a product of Middletown, Mass.-based NYNEX Corporation, on its site while Yahoo! has developed its own yellow pages product.
Joseph believes that finding the right formula for driving traffic is crucial. Ultimately, he says, which directories succeed or fail will be dictated by the users themselves.
Here are some useful yellow pages sites:
Big Book http://www.bigbook.com
Big Yellow http://www.bigyellow.com
GTE SuperPAGES http://www.superpages.com
World Pages http://www.worldpages.com
Yahoo! Yellow Pages http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypBrowse.py
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