Get more business – with word of mouth

The experts tell us that we listen more to personal recommendations than adverts and marketing when we’re trying to find a new trustworthy supplier. Had you ever noticed that yourself?

We just added a neat new feature to to help you build great reputation and word of mouth for your’s and your friends’ businesses.

Its called ‘invite reviews’ and you useit to ask people to review any listed business. So, for your own business you might use it to ask your ten most recent customers to give you a testimonial, then tell new customers to check out your reviews at (or just link to them from your own website). Or, for your friends business, how about a review about their integrity and attention to detail.

Give it a try now, and start to build up your online repuation and word of mouth to win new customers.


Developers use our OpenSearch API to deliver local business search and listings on your website

OpenSearch is a neat technology that lets you perform a search against our database and get the results returned to you as an XML feed.  Visit to get the background scoop.

This means you can add your own search to your website and receive a set of results in a feed that you can format to display any way you like, for example to match your website’s look and feel.

You can go even further, say you wanted to restrict your search to just one area, like Colorado, or even more specifically Boulder?  How about to a specific business sector, like for example electricians, or painters?  Well, our OpenSearch interface will allow you to do that too.

It works by firing a specially formatted URL, which contains your specific search terms, at our server.  Our server sends back an atom XML feed that you can chop up to present the data in the format you wish.  You can use entry fields on your webpage, or even a drop down list, to construct the search terms into that URL, so you can make it as specific or as open as you wish for your users.

If you want to start using our OpenSearch API see here for more details, and drop us a line if you need any help.

WARNING – The Brownbook is NOT the Yellow Pages :)

A lot of people (I have found most) seem to use the term “Yellow Pages” when they talk about consumer-facing business directories, I guess its something that my generation grew up with.  But few people realise that the term is, in some countries, a registered trademark.

In the UK Yell Group owns the trademark and they guard it fiercely, indeed The Brownbook received several letters when we started out cautioning us, in no uncertain terms, about the use of the term.

I can’t help but wonder how long the term will remain an enforcable trademark?  How long before it becomes genericised?

Let me ask you this – and before you answer just spend a few minutes with Google News – do today’s up-coming consumer generations assign the same meaning to the term “yellow pages”?  Are Yell’s actions likely to stop people using the term in a generic context?

Well, for companies like us, yes.  One of the common complaints from trademark owners is that of ‘passing off’ – that the alledged infringer will somehow be confused with the TM owner and all us dumb consumers will somehow thing that the upstart is the TM owner.  Well, is proud NOT to be associated with ‘Yellow Pages’ or the owner of that trademark, maybe I need to make that even clearer, just in case you missed that ;).

We’re moving ahead, creating a new path, clearing out the old and welcoming the new, why would we want to be associated with the stalwarts :).  Come the revolution…

Wightbay – very nice niche site for Isle of Wight

A little bird told me that we got a mention on Wightbay’s blog, Wightbay is a hyper-local site for business and consumers of The Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. They have around 12,000 registered users, which when you consider the population of the island is around 120,000 is just amazing. Its like the Craigslist of the Isle of Wight, only better looking :).
Wightbay actually got bought by the same bunch that just put some money behind us, so I guess that means we’re related. Anyway, nice site and worth a look (especially if you are on the Isle of Wight. Thanks guys for noticing us and for the mention, we love what you’re doing too.

How to edit a business on Brownbook – VIDEO

When people ask me ‘what is’ my one line reply is that ‘its the free business directory that anyone can edit’. You can see just how easy it is to edit a business in this video.

We can all add and review any business, and add photos and videos just as easily as editing a business.