Consumer Alert: Not All Online Directories Provide Listing Information for Free

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Switchboard Incorporated

    WESTBORO, Mass., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As reported in an April 19,
 2001, Computer World Magazine article, http://www.555-1212.com now charges
 fees to users who access their online directory services.  The change from a
 free to a fee-based business model went into effect April 19, 2001, with
 charges ranging from $9.95 to $49.95 per month.  Users must also now register
 with the site to gain access to the directory enabling http://www.555-1212.com
 to track all look-ups.
     "People will pay for stuff that has value to them," said Neal Goldman, an
 analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston.  "But why would I pay for something I
 can get elsewhere for free?"
     Goldman reported that in his experience few companies moving from a free
 service to a pay-for-service model have been successful.  He cited the Wall
 Street Journal Interactive Edition, which has a "reasonable number of
 subscribers" as the best example.
     Other online directory services such as CBS Switchboard.com continue to
 offer a fast, easy and free way for consumers and businesses to find each
 other on the Internet.
     Consumers aren't the only ones who will be impacted by this change from
 free to a fee-based directory service.  As local advertisers evaluate their
 online yellow page advertising options, they must also be wary of online
 directories that charge consumers for look-ups.
     "As consumers move from print yellow pages to online yellow pages to find
 local product and service providers, local advertisers must be educated about
 this online marketing vehicle," stated Small Business Marketing Educator, Tom
 Antion.  "Small businesses should look for directories that command the
 greatest number of users.  Fee based directories will become virtually
 worthless to small businesses as consumers backlash against fees for simple
 look-ups."
     For more information, please contact Bryan Frost at 609-396-0946 ext. 228
 or email him at bfrost@garfieldgroup.com.
 
 

SOURCE Switchboard Incorporated
    WESTBORO, Mass., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As reported in an April 19,
 2001, Computer World Magazine article, http://www.555-1212.com now charges
 fees to users who access their online directory services.  The change from a
 free to a fee-based business model went into effect April 19, 2001, with
 charges ranging from $9.95 to $49.95 per month.  Users must also now register
 with the site to gain access to the directory enabling http://www.555-1212.com
 to track all look-ups.
     "People will pay for stuff that has value to them," said Neal Goldman, an
 analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston.  "But why would I pay for something I
 can get elsewhere for free?"
     Goldman reported that in his experience few companies moving from a free
 service to a pay-for-service model have been successful.  He cited the Wall
 Street Journal Interactive Edition, which has a "reasonable number of
 subscribers" as the best example.
     Other online directory services such as CBS Switchboard.com continue to
 offer a fast, easy and free way for consumers and businesses to find each
 other on the Internet.
     Consumers aren't the only ones who will be impacted by this change from
 free to a fee-based directory service.  As local advertisers evaluate their
 online yellow page advertising options, they must also be wary of online
 directories that charge consumers for look-ups.
     "As consumers move from print yellow pages to online yellow pages to find
 local product and service providers, local advertisers must be educated about
 this online marketing vehicle," stated Small Business Marketing Educator, Tom
 Antion.  "Small businesses should look for directories that command the
 greatest number of users.  Fee based directories will become virtually
 worthless to small businesses as consumers backlash against fees for simple
 look-ups."
     For more information, please contact Bryan Frost at 609-396-0946 ext. 228
 or email him at bfrost@garfieldgroup.com.
 
 SOURCE  Switchboard Incorporated