As the Web2.0 phenomenon matures, more sites are offering free services to users, while generating their revenue through advertising. The latest move seems to be with “Yellow Pages style” web directories. Traditionally the major players in this field charge for listings within their directory, however nowadays more sites are offering free listings, and inviting local businesses to submit their listing free of charge. The idea being that this quickly builds a large directory, and customers find trust in an up-to-date directory.
One example of this is Essex Portal, which we mentioned earlier. Essex Portal offers the opportunity for businesses to submit their company listing for free. This option may not actually be the best option for businesses, as once a listing is submitted, and then manually approved, the business cannot edit its content. If a local business signs up for a free account, they can then log in again at a later date to amend the listing. This gives the local businesses more control over their listing, and also ensures that the directory is kept up to date.
So, is free the future of the net?