iBegin Source: Yellow Pages Data for Everyone

Welcome to another ReviewMe review, this time ordered up by the good folks at iBegin Source, an online service that opens “up local business data to everyone. Normally costing $350k+, we have brought this down.”

So, what kind of “local business data” are we talking about?

Isn’t This Just the Yellow Pages?

In a nutshell, yes. Catering only to the United States, iBegin Source offers a huge business directory wherein you can access all the integral information about any retail outlet, corporate office, or what-have-you. The directory will pull up the address, phone number, and a Google map of the specific business you’re interested in.

So, why would you use iBegin over any number of other similar directories? Well, the key here is that while the information is freely available for you to look at on their website, what iBegin Source really wants you to do is buy this business data for use on your own website. The license is free for non-commercial use, but as soon as you want to make a buck or two off of this information, you’ll have to pony up for a commercial licence.

ibegin-buy.jpg

I’m not sure where they got this information from, but iBegin is claiming that “other data brokers can cost more than $500,000.” By contrast, they’ll sell you the full onslaught of business data for $1,000 per state. If you purchase information for the entire United States, then you get a 20% discount, effectively making your price $40,000. When you purchase the commercial licence, you also get geocoded addresses. This information would have already been cleaned and de-duped (no duplications), and iBegin Source will continually update the data through a variety of means, including a wiki open to all members.

There’s plenty of info here too, as iBegin Source claims to have over 10 million total business listings, including well over one million in California alone. That’s a lot of data.

What Can I Use This For?

I don’t think I personally have any use for the local business data that iBegin has to offer and it’s not because I’m in Canada and they only have American data. If you’re looking for specific information about one store in particular, it would probably be easier to go to that company’s website directly.

In terms of applications, I’d imagine that phonebook companies, special interest groups, and business communities may be interested in the local business data so that they can offer their members information about their particular industry. It might also be useful for tourism websites, because they can quickly point out some of the restaurants or shops in the area. While I’m sure the data itself is fine, the site and service are not without their problems.

My Impressions

First off, the website design comes off as quite amateur-ish. I’m all for white space, but the site just looks so boring. What’s more, navigating through the free information takes far too many clicks. When I went on a test mission, searching for shoes in Washington state, I had to go to the main page, then click on the state, then the specific city, then the business category, and then finally the specific store itself. Why didn’t I just use the search (via “What” or “Where”) function, you might ask? Because when I tried, I got this message:

ibegin-search.jpg

It didn’t matter what I put in — city, state; zip code; keyword — it all came back with the same error message. That’s pretty frustrating. I sincerely hope that whoever purchases this data implements it better than iBegin did.

Opening Yellow Pages Data to Everyone

That’s one of the catchphrases that iBegin employs on their website. It might be useful to someone looking for that kind of thing, but they’ve got to do a better job of selling how useful this local business data could be and how valuable it could potentially be to customers. The sales pitch didn’t exactly grab me, the design looks cheap, and some parts of the site (like search) don’t even work. They’ve got some work to do.


32 thoughts on “iBegin Source: Yellow Pages Data for Everyone”

  1. Ed Lau says:

    LOL…I assume this is before ReviewMe jacked up the rate again?

    1. Jonix says:

      this one is boring…

      By the way did anyone noticed that mybloglog is very very slow today, and auctionads is down?

      1. yup, couldn’t bring myself to finishing it

  2. Moses says:

    wow..yeah..$500 for a review?..sweeet and congrats.

    1. IndoDX says:

      John make GIANT STEP ^_* on world of blogging

      1. Jonix says:

        No doubt on that. John is a superb “seller”.

  3. Gosh, looks like John has cracked the tip of the iceberg again. $500 is the max preset right?

  4. GoobTech says:

    I just want to know how much he is going to make for the month of March =]

  5. 😯 $500?! Any takers so far? :mrgreen:

  6. Bob says:

    I’ll write 500 reviews fo that money 💡

  7. I don’t think iBegin will be paying for another review any time soon…

    1. Marc says:

      There’s no such things as bad publicity…

  8. Jack says:

    They have local search pages for both Toronto and Ottawa now.

    1. Yeah, I heard about this one — the service could actually come in handy for a lot of local folks.

  9. Anything that makes it easier to look something up – bring it on. I hate using the yellow pages.

  10. Kevin says:

    I’ve always used Switchboard.com for some reason, or Google local. I might have to give this a shot.\

    Wish I could get $500 for a review!

    1. I guess most of us have to wait a long long time before we even reach half of this level. Sigh.. 🙄

  11. Chris says:

    I could see this service being of use to marketing and advertising professionals in the direct mail arena (such as myself.) I have used hoovers.com which provides some of the same information, but costs thousands of dollars more. I haven’t explored iBegin to a great extent, but if it refines its interface, removes the bugs and is a little more user friendly, I think it could position itself well as a valuable resource for B2B marketers – My 2 cents.

    1. Marc says:

      I think the big win will be for $1K per state. That’s a very reasonable amount of money if you’re focusing in on a specific state.

  12. KCLau says:

    $500 for a review are well spent. Apart from the traffic they will get, they also get advice on what to improve.

    1. Josh Rives says:

      But how sustained is the traffic?

  13. Joel Mueller says:

    “I’m in Canada and they only have American data”

    Isn’t Canada part of North America? I know, I know, you don’t want to be associated. :p

  14. Gdog says:

    Whoa. $500 for a review?! BLING BLING JOHN!!!

  15. Pretty good hourly rate with 500$ reviews 😮

  16. well the data could be used for a number of different applications (i can think of a dozen things to do with it), but i heard that you can get that same data for $15k/year from the same company that supplies yahoo w/their data… not sure where they got their $500k figure.

    if someone wants to loan me the $40k or just the data for this, we can make it back inside 6 months…

  17. James says:

    It would be hard review this type of site or service.
    I you do not want an honest review, do not have John do it. 🙂

  18. For that kind of money, you think their website would have seen a bit more QA before releasing it. Especially to be reviewed by you for $500.

    Oh well, kudos to you for not sugar coating any reviews. For that money, I would be tempted to give them a review looking through the rose coloured glasses.

  19. Ahmed Farooq says:

    Thanks for the post John,

    A few things I wanted to point out:

    1. We will be expanding into other countries soon. No direct timeline, but Canada should be coming very soon (we ourselves are based in Toronto)
    2. Most companies do not have a website. Our own estimations show roughly 25% of all US businesses have any sort of website (this includes websites not updated for months).
    3. The web design is simplistic on purpose (ie akin to Wikipedia/Craigslist). We decided to opt out of rounded corners and all that jazz for something extremely simple and straightforward. We actually have a design team (who I am very proud of) over at http://www.designdisease.com/
    4. Not sure why the search didn’t work – http://source.ibegin.com/search/shoes/near/Seattle_+WA – works just fine for me. Can you tell me what you put in the where field (by email if you prefer)?
    5. Sales isn’t exactly meant for you – it will be (beyond what you said) for companies like yellow pages companies themselves and newspapers. Our plan with you (in the sense of an end user) is to encourage you to hunker down and check out what your neighbourhood has (or doesn’t have).

    @BrilliancesDotCom – what John provided was honest feedback, and we have no problem with that. I don’t see it as bad publicity – the data itself is strong, which is our actual point. Other than the search bug, he doesn’t like the design, which is a matter of personal taste.

    @Brian – not sure where you got this 15k number from. We just attended the Local 07 Conference by Kelsey, and the minimum is 150k. The company that provides Yahoo with their data, InfoUSA, starts at $350k (base) and goes up very fast.

    Not sure what points there are about the UI – it is clean and simple, that is about it 🙂 The search was the only bug that John mentioned, which I could not duplicate (ie follow the link I posted). Hopefully John can email me/comment and we can figure out what went wrong and fix it.

  20. Dave says:

    This may be worth a look, once you guys get some Canadian data 🙂

  21. Looks like I have a new phone directory 👿

  22. Jeff says:

    not very interesting john I must say,

    Jeff – http://wallpapers.jeffreymunro.com

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