Service area now live on the mapping

We have been asked many times to enable a ‘service area’ on the business details page.

Its now live, take a look at these examples:

The ‘service area’ is useful for businesses to show the area in which they operate. The way to do this is to simply make the address such that Google can determine an area rather than an address point.

Please do remember to also use the ‘location tags’ to describe the area as well, as quite often these are not the same as a known Google mappable area and can include colloquial names for an area.

Thats better… thank you!

Thank you for all your help. We owe you a big big thank you for supporting

One of the pains of moving the whole of Brownbook to new systems last week was that we had some teething troubles… 40 million listings, millions of registered users…. We always new it was going to be challenging which is why we kept putting it off over the last few years. Its only when you consider the processing of hundreds of listings a second and do the maths you realise that its days of processing (even with the fastest of infrastructure and multi / hyperthreading…) to transfer Brownbook to a new modern infrastructure and code base.

So we fixed the password reset issues, the listing issues, the email confirmation issues and we are very nearly there. We have just a few small bugs to solve and the ‘search’ needs to finish indexing, then we can get on to the more exciting functions that you have been asking for.

Time for a update…

We started in May 2008 and since then we have been working on the same PHP code, on a home-grown framework, using Sphinx search on AWS, with great success.

Now its time for a change… we are deep in to development of Brownbook version 2, which we are hoping to have live within the next 8 weeks. This will give us all an improved experience as it uses Laravel Vapor serverless deployment,  React Material design and some of the new AWS services. The improvements we will see include:

  • a maintainable code base so we can quickly release improvements
  • much improved SEO
  • faster more accurate searching
  • faster more reliable api usage
  • new interface that is quick and intuitive

For our API customers, we will be using the same api calls so there will be no need for you to make any changes.

For our users, we will use the same username and login service so you will not have to re-register.

We are looking forward to sharing more information very shortly.


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.

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 – 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:
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: for the attention of Marc or David
4. We will give you an Oauth key / token
5. You code to the live API

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 🙂

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.