New Add-It Yourself Business Directory - InformationWeek
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8/5/2009
03:13 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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New Add-It Yourself Business Directory

Bizwiki.com provides a Wikipedia-style opportunity for businesses to list and describe themselves. The intent is to build the "most detailed and up-to-date index of business in the United States."

Bizwiki.com provides a Wikipedia-style opportunity for businesses to list and describe themselves. The intent is to build the "most detailed and up-to-date index of business in the United States."The Bizwiki project first went live last December, and the site already attracts several hundred thousand visitors a month, according to cofounder Matt Aird. The site has just moved into beta and is welcoming new members to add their companies. Listing and searching are both free.

The way the site is set up, anyone can add a business, and anyone can edit a description. The idea is to make sure that information is kept up to date by enabling business owners to modify their listings as soon as contact details, hours, addresses, or other details change. The information is structured -- there are standardized fields for entry -- enabling it to be easily searched.

The obvious danger in giving users that kind of power, though, is that some might misuse it -- to post false or damaging information about a competitor, for example. bMighty asked Matt Aird about that, and he acknowledged that "the vastly overwhelming majority of submissions are accurate and helpful, but we have occasionally seen competitors trying to submit malicious changes to records." To mitigate the problem, Aird said, "each addition or change to company records on Bizwiki.com is reviewed by editors to ensure accuracy and compliance with our guidelines.

"Any changes that haven't yet been reviewed are either not displayed publicly or clearly labeled as 'Awaiting Approval'. We're currently working on a three-day lead time so companies don't have to wait that long for submissions to go through, but we believe that small delay is a worthwhile trade-off because as a business site, it's vitally important that users can trust and rely on information."

And those "malicious changes" mentioned above? "We've been able to catch them due to the vetting process that even the smallest change has to go through," Aird assured us.

To search listings on Bizwiki.com doesn't require registration, so it's almost certainly worth your time to search your business to see what they already have from public sources, and to search your competitors. To add information to your profile, you'll need to register -- but as said, it's free.

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