Brownbook Celebrates its First Birthday and a Year of Sustained Growth

Free free global business directory that anyone can edit now lists 28 million businesses worldwide

United Kingdom:, the free global business directory that anyone can edit, is celebrating its first year in business; a year of sustained growth. Today, the site continues to thrive, with thousands of businesses being added, worldwide, every week. The international distribution of listed businesses can be seen here:

Brownbook also regularly enjoys positive reviews about the site; these left, for example, on Brownbook’s own listing page:

“Love it… Love it… Love it. This is SEO magic for the uninitiated. Simple, quick and powerful. Love it! Have recommended BrownBook to ALL my friends! Actor Expo Team,, May 25, 2009 17.23”

“I had a wonderful review of my business appear on my [Brownbook listing] a few days after signing up for your service. It was an unsolicited endorsement from a business associate. Right on! May 22, 2009 11.06”

Marc Lyne, co-founder: “We are currently listing 28 million businesses from all around the world. One of the reasons for Brownbook’s success, I would say, is that we never stop providing innovative new features to businesses, helping them to get found online. This keeps the site fresh and on its toes. Here are 2 of our latest enhancements, for example:

1. Stats counters and stat graph on every businesses page.

2. Bidget (Business Widget) for reviews. Now anyone can add their reviews that appear on Brownbook to any other website, blog or forum. See an example here: the Brownbook page for Onedrywash:, and their Brownbook reviews which they have placed on their own blog:

Be UN-competitive to succeed!

I’m always speaking to business owners about how they can get found more on the major search engines, and one topic of a conversation I had last week as Google’s excellent Keyword Tool, and how you can use it to pick UNcompetitive keywords that make you stand out.  You don’t have to be technical to get this.


Brownbook speaks at InfoCommerce

We’ve been invited to speak at the forthcoming InfoCommerce 2008 event, November 10 in Philadelphia.

Here’s a little intro from InfoCommerce:

In February of this year, I brought to your attention a UK-based online y***** p**** start-up called While online y***** p**** is a crowded and generally unremarkable category of online content, Brownbook was coming at it with a fresh and audacious approach by relying on the wiki model. Yes, user-generated content for y***** p****.

We know wikis can work. Just look at the success of Wikipedia. We know that databases can be built with user-generated content. Witness both Jigsaw and LinkedIn (both former InfoCommerce Models of Excellence winners). But the general thinking to date has been that users will contribute only when they’re passionate about a topic or there’s something in it for them. Most would agree that “y***** p****” and “passion” are rarely seen in the same sentence.

Despite this, BrownBook has persevered with this new approach, and by all reports, it’s working. Strong site metrics are suggesting BrownBook may be onto something big with this innovative model.

Not content simply to revolutionize how y***** p**** databases are built and maintained, BrownBook has just announced an equally remarkable innovation: it wants to turn its registered users into a commission sales force.

In a nutshell, if a registered user of BrownBook contributes content about a business, and that business later pays to enhance its listing, the registered user receives a portion of that revenue. But to make things more interesting, this isn’t a one-time payment. It’s a lifetime commission stream to that user as long as that business remains an advertiser. So while users can likely make a few dollars passively, they can potentially make a lot of money by actively encouraging the businesses they write about to advertise in BrownBook, and to remain advertisers in BrownBook as well. Consider too the potentially viral aspects of this model as BrownBook users start to receive checks, initially for not doing anything. It won’t take them long to spread the word to their friends and recognize that by talking up BrownBook to their favorite retailers, they can develop a nice stream of ongoing cash.

The best way to get the full story on BrownBook is to be at InfoCommerce 2008 in Philadelphia on Monday November 10 – where you can hear Marc Lyne, BrownBook’s co-founder, on our kick-off Meet the Evolutionaries panel. See you there …