Telecom shows experience with Internet Yellow Pages

Telecom has struck its share of potholes in its migration to the Internet, but today it launches probably its best new media product yet - the Internet Yellow Pages. All the businesses currently listed in the print version of the Yellow Pages are listed in the Internet Yellow Pages - but for $150 and $35 a month they can also have their own Web page, based on a range of standard templates, from which customers will eventually be able to buy their products direct.

Telecom has struck its share of potholes in its migration to the Internet, but today it launches probably its best new media product yet — the Internet Yellow Pages.

All the businesses currently listed in the print version of the Yellow Pages are listed in the Internet Yellow Pages — but for $150 and $35 a month they can also have their own Web page, based on a range of standard templates, from which customers will eventually be able to buy their products direct. The site is at http://www.yellowpages.co.nz.

Users can search the Yellow Pages database by category, keyword (including all words in advertising pages, and street addresses) and location (either by drilling down on a map or typing in a location). Advertisers will appear higher up in the list of results and have the option of links to advertising pages on-site or off-site, email links or additional contact information.

The impact of Internet Yellow Pages seems likely to be considerable — both on small and medium-sized business which have wanted a Web presence and the small Web design and Internet directory firms which have hitherto been pitching to them.

Directories staff are keen to distinguish the new service from NZ Directory Search, which general manager Craig Marsh says was a rush job timed to concicide with last year’s Xtra launch. The Yellow Pages listings will be updated every night.

Marsh says the service “demystifies the Internet” for both businesses and their potential customers. Telecom Directories is already working with Telecom Internet Services on e-commerce facilities, which he expects to be operational within 18 months. “Buy” buttons on sample templates are already accompanied by icons relating to the major credit cards, and Eftpos.

Development has been carried out by the Hamilton firm Webmasters, which won plaudits for its work on the Clear Net home pages. Directories Internet manager David Haysom says one factor in the choice of Webmasters was its prior experience in online directories, with its own AccessNZ.

An Internet White Pages based on the same design is due in a month, an email-to-fax service will be added to the options available to advertisers within six months, and Haysom says beyond that “one thing I’d like to develop is a relationship with, say, a major hotel chain or some restaurants, so customers can use the Yellow Pages to directly access their reservation systems and make bookings.”

The back end of the site is in three parts — the VMS-VAX environment which generates the print version of the directory; an Oracle7 database; and, on top, the search-database product Fulcrum. The 42Gb data-base is stored on a disk array linked to two Sun boxes.

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