March 27, 1996
Nynex Puts National Yellow Pages on Internet
By ROB FIXMERyear after launching its own interactive yellow pages on the World Wide Web, the Nynex Corporation on Tuesday unveiled an advertising-supported yellow pages service that lists almost evey business in the nation under a single Internet search engine called BigYellow.
BigYellow, which Nynex is touting as the nation's largest on-line shopping directory, lists 16 million businesses nationwide and has 4,000 advertisers and 9,000 advertisements, making it one of the largest advertiser-supported sites on the Internet.
Nynex's charges for advertising on the BigYellow site range from $111 a year for a link to a company's Web site to $300 a year for a one-page text advertisement, on up to $2,400 for a three-month banner adjacent to specific business categories like restaurants or attorneys.
The service is being offered at no charge to consumers.
Although the company formally unveiled BigYellow on Tuesday and was not scheduled to begin promoting the site until Wednesday, word had already spread rapidly through users of the Nynex's own interactive yellow pages service. As a result, the company said Tuesday, the site is already receiving more than 100,000 hits a day.
In addition to an enhanced interface designed to make searches faster and easier, the new service offers the following improvements:
Links to on-line shopping directories from 40 other nations and to an on-line store where users can buy any of more than 6,500 phone books from around the world.
Specially designed access for the visually impaired.
A shopping-tips section with links to consumer information.
A business guide that provides links to tax, financial, marketing and legal information on the Web, plus a tutorial on using the Web for information and marketing.
Mat Stover, president and chief executive of Nynex Information Resources Company, said the company would continue adding features to BigYellow, including a companion directory of residential and government listings, a map-based search capability, and an embedded technology for secure transactions, which will allow consumers to make direct, on-line purchases of anything from a pizza to a piano from the companies they contact through BigYellow.
Telephone listings are becoming increasingly popular content for attracting users to Web sites. A number of companies have put up yellow pages directories for limited areas, and in late February Banyan Systems, Inc., of Westboro, Mass., introduced Switchboard.Com, a free on-line telephone directory of all the listed residential phone numbers in the country.
In most cases, however, the companies mounting these sites have not attempted to generate all or most of their revenue from advertising sales. Switchboard.Com, for example, is designed to evolve into a vast clearinghouse of e-mail addresses, personal information and -- most important -- encrypted ID's. Banyan is banking on its growing into a vast and profitable directory of e-mail addresses and business affiliations.
Nynex is committed to an advertising model, and to that end Stover said the company had already forged alliances "with a wide range" of agencies. "And we invite anyone who is selling traditional yellow pages advertising or advertising on the Internet to join us in providing space in Big Yellow to their customers," he added.
Nynex also announced an agreement with Infoseek Guide, one of the Web's most popular Internet directories, under which Infoseek will display the BigYellow service as a choice on its main navigation bar and BigYellow will offer a link to Infoseek from its home page. Infoseek claims about 3.5 million hits per day.
In addition, Nynex is offering businesses third-party support in custom designing sites linked to BigYellow.
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Nynex BigYellow, a national yellow pages service that offers 16 million business listings nationwide, searchable by name, location and type of business.
Switchboard.Com features 93 million individual listings and 11 million businesses nationwide, searchable by name (searches can be narrowed by location).
Copyright 1996 The New York Times Company