Universal Business Listings (Part 1)

A new service for local business, UniversalBusinessListing.Org was started recently. I got a copy of their press release so I decided to do some investigating. I read over their website and it seemed pretty good but I wanted some more information. I  caught up with Chris Travers and was able to get him to answer some question for me (and you).

Q. What is UniversalBusinessListing.Org what all about?

A. We have a very simple mission: To provide businesses with an inexpensive ability to enter enhanced listing data about their company in one place and have that data be distributed uniformly to all majorInternet Business Listings Directories, including Online Yellow Pages, Search Engines, Local Portals and 411 Directory Assistance services.

The data is owned by the .Org with industry oversight over who qualifies as a Directory to get access. Access is free, and it will never be sold otherwise, nor will the .Org try to be a national database, nor a marketing company, nor an SEO or anything else. It is a single purpose entity streamlining the enhanced listing process for those many businesses who care. It’s a tool to help the SEOs and CMRs with an obvious problem. It also allows the business to get the information the way they want it and change as their business changes.

Q.  How many site do you submit to?

A. Yes, we are currently sending to over 25 entities all the major outlets in the categories listed above or the data aggregators that feed them. When a user or their certified marketing representative creates a listing, their account page shows each publisher site being checked off as it is posted there, plus they later receive the listing’s URL when it is live. The list will change as we add moresites – especially as the publishers choose to proactively download the data versus us manually posting.

Q. If I read your website properly, how can you only charge $30/year?

A. We knew that this had to be low margin if we wanted high penetration. We know others have been charging $300 for this service as part of other marketing activities, but that can only attract a limited group. So we have a start-up mentality, using latest Web Service, Database technologies and outsourcing for manual postings. If partners send the customers to us, they also get 40% of the fee to cover their costs. This was never just about the money, but if we all are increasingly efficient about it there will be a reasonable margin. It is also $15 for annual renewals. Nobody is accusing us of being greedy – this began as I counted the hours it took me to post my own business to all
these sites.

Q. How does your system work?

A. There are two main methods. Users come to UniversalBusinessListing.Org directly or via affiliate links. They fill out a listing form that is very detailed in terms of information, brands, keywords, categories, logos and all the other enhanced data. They pay the fee and get an account through which they can monitor the posting and freely make changes. We take the data, bundle it up into an xml schema and post it daily to our Web Service that publishers can download for integration. For those sites not taking it electronically yet, we have our manual posting team do the detailed submissions and tracking. There are three layers of verification match to the most current Telco database, email auto responder and phone callback. The users have to come back each year to update and renew this is to ensure the data is current. If they do not renew they are dropped from the database.

The other model is primarily for large Certified Marketing Representatives, SEOs, Ad agencies and some Directories who will complete the transactions on their own sites and send us the data in a bulk upload according to our xml schema. They also get billed on a net fee basis, versus us getting the full fee and paying them their share.

to be continued….

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