In a recent news release, B2BYellowPages.com, Syosset, NY, announced it would begin offering free business listings on its site. B2BYellowPages.com is a vertical site focused solely on the business-to-business marketplace with ownership of additional vertical sites (b2bAutos.com, b2bCosmetics.com, b2bTravel.com, etc.).
The news release goes on to say:
“According to Andrew Wax, President and CEO, “Our local search capabilities have greatly expanded over the past year. The success with this has our members requesting greater access to local business communities. The new free listings are a great way for all businesses to experience the benefits of the world’s top business-to-business yellow pages, while enabling us to deepen our business resources at the local level. As the directory grows, we expect that our members and users will benefit from the expanded number of resources the directory can provide.”
Currently the site offers two options, a premium membership as well as a simple listing offer. It is unclear at this time how the site plans to monetize its business model long term since both membership levels are free of charge and include listings and SEM features both of which are typical revenue drivers for IYPs.
Launched in January 2001, B2BYellowPages claims to have “grown to include more than 100,000 industry specific categories within 72 vertical communities, including geographic categories for each town and city throughout the United States.” The current offer is clearly aimed at expanding this reach by drawing in more small and medium-sized businesses on a local level.
While print business-to-business directories in the U.S. continue to struggle (Cincinnati Bell’s The Workbook) or disappear, it would be interesting to understand how a pure online play might fare better. The addition of local search, business “needs and leads” and online forums seems to be a logical play, but again tough to build a business upon, particularly without a local sales force in place.