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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Resting the Brain

ZZzzzzzzzz…….

2011… 2012 … 2013… 2014… 2015… 2016!

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Thanks for the recognition from Local Search expert Chris Silver Smith

Always nice to get a little recognition:

Sept 13, 2010 – Chris Silver Smith: Who Will Own Local Data? Search Engines, Yellow Pages, Aggregators Or Social Media?

Thanks Chris, one day we MUST catch up for a chat.

Dave

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Richer Business Profile Pages get more traffic and clicks [stats]

We did a little analysis this week, intended for some internal purposes but the results are so interesting that I thought I’d share them with you.

Business Pages with more content get more views and clicks – sounds obvious and we’ve been saying that for some time, but how about some real hard numbers to back that up.

It’s long been accepted that more rich content = better SEO (all other things being equal), and that’s good news for small businesses and local businesses trying to get found online.  But how much of a difference does more content make?

Well here you go, here is the actual answer within the Brownbook world (based on 30 days activity and a sample of 900 business listings that saw activity in that period):

The numbers:

views and links table

Visual:

views and clicks analysis graph

Click to enlarge

What does %complete mean?
This is a measure by which we deem a Business Profile Page to be completed, and you can see how it gets to 100% in this snippet (You’ll find this near the top right of your Business Profile Page, you’ll need to be signed in when looking at your claimed business page to see this):

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A few quick conclusions:

  • Getting your Business Profile Page more complete results in more views and clicks
  • The difference in views between 30% and 90% is about 10x (and 2x when you go from 80% to 90%)
  • We’re getting an astonishing click through ratio of close to 20% in most cases and often higher
  • There seems to be an odd result where businesses at 90% get on average more clicks than those on 100% (I wonder why that is, perhaps because more info presented removes some of the need for the viewer to click through to the business’s website?)
  • (I noticed another anomaly in clicks at 50% complete – I  will see if more analysis can reveal what’s happening here)
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Brownbook in top 100 startups

startups 2We like this… Brownbook listed at position 34 in the Startups.co.uk top 100 startups: http://www.startups.co.uk/6678842908650112835/34-brownbook-startups-100.html

Thank you Sara.

Startups.co.uk is an online resource all about starting a business.

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