Friday, July 9, 2004

Consolidation in Web-Based Directory Assistance

This week W3 Data, Inc. announced its acquisition of 411.com, an online directory compiled primarily from phone directory listings. W3 Data has a consumer division and a business division. It's consumer division, which is branded by the WhitePages.com name for its network of directory assistance search sites, competes with Switchboard.com, SuperPages.com, and other RBOC-owned directory sites. In this sector, there's a lot of collaboration with competitors, especially when it comes to source data. In general, it makes sense for the phone companies to license their white page and yellow page data to third parties like W3 Data, because of their Web development expertise and ability to concentrate on delivering a better, cheaper, and more efficient service to consumer and business customers; whereas the phone companies have their core telecom businesses eating up most of their time and efforts. W3 Data is a good example of how a company can create vContent by combining technology and strategic business understanding to provide an enhanced content-based service to its customers--which goes far beyond just offering access to content.
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