A new IBM backed venture that aims to be the first global directory
of businesses on the internet has appointed J. Walter Thompson to handle
its pounds 8 million brand development and launch in the UK.
Online Web Services is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Ken Jones
and Jane Couchman, who have enlisted the help of both IBM and Mercury
Internet in the venture.
The directory aims to list all companies, from the small fish and chip
shop to the large manufacturing conglomerate, by carving up each country
and region into franchises.
Each franchisee will be responsible for gathering the address and
contact details of all businesses in their area, regardless of whether
they are on the internet or have an e-mail address.
The data will flow, via IBM, into a giant database that will launch in
the UK by the end of the year.
The database, which will roll out worldwide next year, will be the first
complete list of e-mail addresses. These are currently only held
separately by each internet service provider.
Mark Robinson, JWT’s marketing manager, who worked with the director in
charge, Kate Bruges, to secure the business, said: ’It will render all
existing databases obsolete. The current search engine system at best
trawls only a fraction - say 15 per cent - of the estimated 60 million
businesses worldwide. The E-Directory will change all that.’