Facelift

It was about time… this week the team completed the facelift of Brownbook, the first in 8 years. Times have moved on and we have been desperate to do the work for a few years, but simply did not have the time.

We have also had the opportunity to correct broken links and really do a spring clean on the whole site. Great news.

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Publisher API

If you are an agency, SEO specialist, or a local search listing optimizer, it can be laborious and costly to add listings manually to Brownbook. We have a Publisher API that can help you reduce the time, cost, error rate and administrative overhead of adding and maintaining thousands of listings on Brownbook.net – The Global Business Listing Database.

Using our Publisher API you can search, insert, edit, and delete listings in volume. There are 5 simple steps:

1. Review the API documentation here: http://api.brownbook.net/swagger/ (click ‘business’)
2. Download and sign the API Agreement (agreeing to pay US $0.10 per listing per month) here: Brownbook data publication agreement 220416
3. Scan and email the signed API Agreement to: service@brownbook.net for the attention of Marc or David
4. We will give you an Oauth key / token
5. You code to the live API

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AWS Migration Complete (mostly)

www.brownbook.net is now fully functioning on AWS, and as a result, its much faster. We are all amazed at just how much quicker it is. Even users of the api for submitting listings into Brownbook are reporting that all requests are returning in less than 500 milliseconds.

 

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AWS Migration Update 2

Update: We rehearsed the full migration this week, and hit a few minor issues, thankfully nothing scary, so work continues to get this fully done. Our plan now incorporates some staged migration of different elements of the system over the next week or so, and we’ll let you know here how it gets on. Thats all for now:-)

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AWS Migration Update

A quick update on the migration: We’re shooting for a full move to AWS on May 3rd.  If you’re a partner Publisher using our Local Listing Publisher API we’ll reach out to you direct to update you on the plan and progress.

Posted in BB News

A major update and refresh, on its way

I’ve just been reviewing the new designs for the Brownbook website, and I’m getting excited. But let me put aside the excitement for a moment, and explain some of the rationale for the changes that are coming.

Way back, when we started Brownbook, we had a simple goal: to bring the concept of crowd-sourced production to a stale industry – that occupied by folks like Yellow Pages, SuperPages, Yell, and others.  Our view was, 7 years ago, that we could create a crowd-sourced local business directory, and, we did it – with bells on.

But, in fact, we did much more than that!

Brownbook now stands at more than 35 million business listings worldwide, it has more than 1.1 million registered users, some 30,000 of whom use the site to actually add and update listings every single month.  Of that 35 million listings, more than 2 million are organically added and updated (that’s about as big as the UK yellow pages, but created by the crowd and fractional cost and with infinitely more efficiency).

What Brownbook has become is the worlds largest Global Business Listing Database, and its still growing fast.

So, time for a refresh and rethink: In the next few weeks we’ll be migrating the platform from its current hosting provider to AWS (Amazon Web Services) to greatly improve performance. That’s performance of the web user interface (which presently is diabolical) but, perhaps more importantly, performance of the Publisher API.  We’ll also be updating the UI to be cleaner, simpler, and generally a bit more elegant – that 7-year old design is certainly showing its age.

We’ve also found some important changes in the way that businesses, and particularly their agencies, use Brownbook.  Small businesses can still add their business listings, claim and verify them, and enrich them with additional text, images, videos, and social links through the website. And that helps them get found on the top search engines through Brownbook’s great SEO. But increasingly we’ve had requests from SEO companies, and local search optimization, listings, and location management agencies to provide an API for adding listings in volume.  In response to that we’ve been road-testing the Brownbook Publisher API for a few months, and its just about to hit prime time.  The Publisher API lets large businesses, publishers, SEOs, agencies, and local search teams add and manage listing in Brownbook with ease, no manual keying and no human error. Its fast, easy to use, and you can be integrated and live within a matter of days – more on this later.

So, watch out for a new look, faster platform, and public API coming soon. If your a publisher and interested in the Publisher API, drop us a line via the Contact Us page on the Brownbook.net site. Or just click here.

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Welcome back

Well, its been a long time, and welcome back! Please excuse the deafening silence for the last, oh, 5 years! Can it really be that long??

Well, the good news is that The Brownbook has been performing almost flawlessly for 5 years without much attention on our part. That’s down to the original fully-automated and self-service design that we created. Its like a factory with an automated production line, every now and again we drop in the ensure the lights are on and the machine has fuel, and actually thats all its needed to keep running.

But, its time for us to step back in and give it a little love.   Continue reading

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