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Is there such a thing as an Internet Yellow Pages?

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on September 27, 1999

Question

Is there such a thing as an "Internet phone book/yellow pages”? I'm tired of rushing for a pencil or the computer when they mention a site on TV/radio etc.

-Rob

Answer

This question was answered on September 27, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


Since all web site addresses are not easy to remember, there are plenty of resources available on the Net (mainly search engines and web indexes) that may help you track down the company, but sadly there is no single source that can handle all the possibilities The reasons for this are many The Internet is changing so fast that most indexes of this nature only have a fraction of the millions of web sites and the billions of web pages Hundreds of thousands of new web sites are being added to the World Wide Web everyday and as of yet no one has figured out a way to keep track of all of them as well as the sites that no longer exist Last year, search engines had about one third of the Internet indexed, but according to a recent study by the NEC Research Institute, it has dropped to approximately one sixth of the entire Internet This means that a staggering 83% of all web sites cannot be found through a search engine (Keep in mind this includes all of the personal web sites that exist.) The search engine that had the largest chunk of the Internet indexed, according to the study, was Northern Light (www.northernlight.com) at a paltry 16%! In the study of 11 search engines Northern Light was followed by Snap (www.snap.com) with 15.5 percent of the Web covered, Altavista (www.altavista.com) also with 15.5 percent, Hotbot (www.hotbot.com) with 11.3 percent, Microsoft (search.msn.com) with 8 percent, Infoseek (www.infoseek.com) with 8 percent, Google (www.google.com) with 7.8 percent, Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) with 7.4 percent, Excite (www.excite.com) with 5.6 percent, Lycos (www.lycos.com) with 2.5 percent and the European search engine Euroseek (www.euroseek.com) with 2.2 percent Just about every one of the above search engines has their version of the “Yellow Pages” but again they only have a fraction of the Internet Search engines generally have an automated “spider” that is constantly bouncing around the Net looking for new sites to index If an automated procedure can’t keep up, a database that is administered by humans will have even less of a chance Even the search engine put up by Internic a.k.a Network Solutions, at www.dotcomdirectory.com has not been all that great at finding web addresses This is the one organization that has been charged with the task of keeping track of all web addresses on the Internet and even they can’t get it right! (2 of my 3 web sites do not appear when I search by company)

If you are looking for a local company, you can look for a local index such as US West’s www.uswestdex.com, but these phone company based indexes generally don’t have the web address listed because it is simply an on-line version of the Yellow Pages Some other indexed phone number based indexes include www.411.com and www.yellowpages.com Another reason that you may have a tough time tracking down the company’s web address is that not all companies have the luxury of having a web address that is the same as the companies name For example, the Acme Toothbrush Company could have a web address such as www.acme.com or www.atc.com or www.acmetoothbrush.com or even www.acmeco.com If they could have been lucky enough to get www.toothbrush.com their problems would be solved But there can only be one www.toothbrush.com in the entire world And, of course, there is the problem that if you are off by even one character in the address you will either be sent to a totally unrelated site or get an error

Your question illustrates the importance for companies to have an easy to remember Web address (webmasters and marketing people take note!) That is precisely what causes company’s to spend enormous sums of money on domain names, such as the more than $850,000 spent on the purchase of drugs.com A domain name like drugs.com could easily be worth millions in a few years, so the investment could be sound With less than 5% of the world’s population currently connected to the Internet, this problem will continue to grow Your best bet may be to keep a pencil and paper handy!

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on September 27, 1999

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