We built Brownbook because we believe that peer-production has the potential to trump centralized production every time. The business directory industry (most people call it ‘yellow pages’, though we’re not related to any business of that name) is one of the most archaic there is. They’re centrally controlled services, where one entity owns and maintains all the data.
The reigns are starting to loosen – a little – with a number of local review sites breaking ground, but they’re all still trying to manage all the data. There is a long way to go until the shackles are off, and we want to cut out all the middle steps. It will happen, it’s just a question of time.
Centralized control worked before individuals had the communications tools to do the job collaboratively. But it only worked in markets large enough for a big player to step in.
With more power in our hands now, we all have the ability to do the job ten times as well as any corporation:
– incorporating not just the big businesses, but also all those small home businesses that never get into the big directories
– allowing instant correction of out of data information
– dramatically lowering the price for advertisers (because we have minimal overheads)
– PLUS allowing a service to evolve in world regions where no big player has deemed it worth investing
That’s why we did this.