Yellowikis : Wikipedia of Yellow Pages
“Presence” will ultimately become a more prominent feature of local business websites and IM/VoIP calling should, over time, become a more common and frequent way for consumers and local merchants to interact. Once local merchants — notorious for not returning phone calls or answering emails — clearly understand the benefits they’ll start adding presence buttons/IM clients to their sites.
I previously blogged about AIM Pages becoming a small business website substitute. Presence is a feature of that offering. And eBay recently announced that it would rolling out Skype more broadly on its sites and building new ad vehicles around Skype and presence. MySpace also introduced a branded IM client that similarly could be used on small business profiles to let consumers know if they’re there. And Atlanta-based ContactAtOnce has a range of ad vehicles and enhancements built around presence.
Now Yellowikis, which aims to be a user-edited, open source yellow pages on a global scale, has enabled Skype status to be displayed on merchant pages.
According to founder Paul Youlten, this is a first for a yellow pages directory. Youlten has also permitted merchants to add video from YouTube.
Yellowikis is an incredibly ambitious project that relies on users (and local businesses) around the globe building the directory. That’s a daunting proposition — to say the least.
Yet until recently Wikipedia seemed a long shot and almost preposterous notion itself. And if the directory follows in the footsteps of Wikipedia it will become a highly successful (and visible) way for local businesses to be found. It could also be radically disruptive if successful.
Wikipedia’s traffic has surged over the past year and it is now one of the most used sites on the Internet.
In fact, according to comScore’s recent global traffic ratings, Wikipedia is the seventh most visited site around the globe:
Global ranking by traffic:
* MSN-Microsoft Sites
* Google Sites
* Yahoo! Sites
* Time Warner Network
* Amazon Sites
* Wikipedia Sites
* Ask Network
* Adobe Sites
* Lycos, Inc.
* CNET Networks
* Apple Computer, Inc.
* Real.com Network
* Monster Worldwide
* Wanadoo Sites
Thus the potential is there over the long term for Yellowikis to become the definitive source of local business data and information around the globle. Youlten and company have a very long hard climb to get there, but Wikipedia has proven their vision is not impossible.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.