Helping businesses who choose not to help themselves – Brownbook, the directory platform for classified publishers

From the outset we saw Brownbook as being a global open platform, available to other mattress-screen-195x300websites via OpenSearch and a platform on which any business anywhere in the World could add themselves (via self service) for free and then pay a small sum ($22) to claim, enhance and customize their listing.

For small businesses that are not able to add themselves or choose not to, then we provide the Brownbook platform to publishers that already have relationships with those types of businesses, and who also have production capabilities to customize the Brownbook pages for their customers (see this page to understand what page customization looks like). Publishers further add value for their adverisers by driving traffic from their web sites to there advertisers’ businesses pages on Brownbook.

Here’s an example of the same page on Brownbook seen as if you were visiting Brownbook from each of these different web sites:

Boats and Outboards


Horse Mart
Wight Bay

Not only do business owners benefit from the generation of leads from their presence on the publishers’ web sites, but they also benefit from the great SEO that Brownbook provides.

Publishers benefit through the turnkey delivery of a new richly customizable product that monetizes their web traffic and also charge the businesses themselevs a fair price for the customization work. The Brownbook platform enables instant delivery of an advanced web 2.0 business directory across all their sites quickly and easily. This enables the publisher to concentrate efforts on connecting with their prospect base and delivering benefit to them, rather than development of new web site functionality. This approach saves management time, development costs, ensures market leading functionality and reduces time to market therefore increasing revenue opportunity.

The more the Brownbook platform is utilized by businesses and publishers around the World the greater the benefit it provides to all the businesses using it. Rather like Wikipedia for encyclopedias, Brownbook is becoming the most complete and up to date business directory in the World.

Any questions, thoughts, then please do email me: marc[AT]brownbook[DOT]net

Developing your own widgets to work on Brownbook pages

lancing-marineHere is a great example where has created a widget to insert in its customers Brownbook pages to show the inventory that that business has for sale on Boats and Outboards:

If any online publishers anywhere in the World who would like a Brownbook business directory as part of their site or to utilize the web 2.0 business listing functionality of Brownbook, then please drop me an email: marc[AT]brownbook[DOT]net

This is how the page for Lancing Marine appears when it is accessed from the Boats and Outboards web site:

Boats and Outboards are linking to these pages from within their web site and providing their customers with a product where they create the page on Brownbook on behalf of the customer (add photos, videos, text, prices, logo etc) and help generate traffic to that page from within

New page stats added to business profile pages

By popular demand we’ve added a new ‘Page statistics’ unit to all business profile pages.  Now you can see exactly how many times your profile page has been viewed, and how many times your website, blog, twitter and email links have been clicked – since today May 5th 2009.

If you’ve claimed your listing we’ll also do the math to calculate how much each page view and click has cost you, so over the course of the year you’ll be able to easily see what you’ve got for your money.

Brownbook V18 live today

Brownbook V18 went live today, with a couple of changes which I’ll outline here.  Aside from a whole heap of back-end stuff, the key front-end improvements revolve around the customizable business pages.

When you add new information to your business profile page (e.g. text, images, videos, widgets, etc) you can now choose to show or hide the unit titles, show or hide the unit borders, and edit the titles on most of the units.  If you already have a customized page go have a play.  On the face of it that sounds kinda small, but the result is your business profile page now looks rather more ‘clean’.  You can take a look at a few examples here:

Kosibah Creations Ltd – all borders showing, all titles showing

Woodland Skills – all borders showing, all titles showing

and our own Brownbook – some borders hidden, some titles hidden, some titles edited

Have fun


Brownbook appears in CILIP’s Gazette

The London-based Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has written about Brownbook in the 10-23 April 2009 edition of their Library & Information Gazette.

It reads:

Interactive Business Directory Launched is an online global business directory which is free, and can be edited by anyone. Users simply type details of new companies into Brownbook to share with other web users. Similarly, international suppliers of a particular item can be tagged, and searched for by keyword. Brownbook lists 27m businesses in 240 countries, and is available at and on mobile