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My colleague Neal Polachek is attending Yellow Pages Today in Austria, where he heard someone talking today about how eBay is a burgeoning Yellow Pages competitor.

Quite coincidentally, in today's Wall Street Journal, there's an article about eBay and Google Base. Specifically the article discusses how eBay may become a directory alternative as the company seeks new sources of growth. (Recall what eBay said about how Skype/VoIP would enable the company to pursue "entirely new lines of business" and help facilitate communication with offline businesses).

From the article:

EBay is aiming to take over the phone book's customary role as the first place people turn to find local services from housecleaners to accountants.

While eBay Inc.'s focus for now is on auto services like oil changes and brake jobs, its goal may be to connect consumers with local businesses of all kinds. This could signal a major shift in the way consumers shop for such services and greatly affect pricing and competition among local shops.

Recall that eBay also owns Web building and online marketing services provider ProStores.

So eBay would appear to be angling for a soup-to-nuts hosting and marketing "solution" for SMEs, be they product sellers or, now, local service businesses.

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