It’s official:192.com lists more UK businesses than any other online directory

Advertising Standards Authority rules on Hibu (formerly Yell) v 192.com

  • ASA upholds 192.com’s claim to list more UK businesses than its nine closest competitors including yell.com
  • ASA rules that 192.com must not compare its popularity with that of yell.com because they “do not meet the same need”

November 20, 2013

The Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed 192.com’s claim to list more UK businesses than any other online directory.

The ruling by the ASA followed complaints brought by Hibu(formerly Yell) against 192.com.

In its evidence to the ASA, 192.com provided documentary evidence of the number of businesses listed by it and its closest nine competitors including yell.com. The evidence showed that whilst yell.com lists “over two million businesses”, 192.com lists more than six million.

Commenting on this part of the ASA’s judgement Dominic Blackburn, Product Director for 192.com said:

“We have made it our mission to provide the most comprehensive online directory of UK businesses. Most UK directories list around two million businesses whereas we list around three times that number. It’s much more likely that you will find the business you seek on 192.com. We are pleased by this ruling from the ASA.”

In the same ruling, the ASA considered claims made by 192.com regarding the popularity of its online directory compared to yell.com. In January 2013, 192.com issued a press release and subsequent tweets suggesting that based on December 2012 data 192.com was now the most visited UK online directory. 192.com submitted evidence to the ASA based upon independent assessment of website visits (source: Experian Hitwise) and unique users (source: Comscore) to substantiate its claims. However the ASA was unwilling to accept this evidence on the basis that it had “not been verified”.

The ASA also decided that it was unfair for 192.com to compare its popularity with yell.com “because the two services did not meet the same need”. In the ruling, the ASA concluded that because 192.com can be used to search for people as well as businesses, whereas Yell.com is only a business directory, it would be unfair to compare their popularity. The ruling acknowledges, however, that “consumers were more likely to be attracted to its [192.com’s] “one stop shop” nature and, consequently, it may attract more web traffic than other online directories that only offered business listings….”

Commenting on this part of the ruling, Dominic Blackburn said:

“It has always been our view that the one stop nature of 192.com (people and business finding) is intrinsically more attractive to consumers than directories with a narrower focus.

“Whilst the ASA seems to share this view, it has ruled that we should not compare our popularity with yell.com which is one of our main competitors. Its reasoning is that because 192 offers more functionality than yell.com, a comparison of the two is not a “like-for-like” comparison.

“We are somewhat perplexed by this. The result of the ruling seems to be that we can still say that we list more businesses than yell.com and we can still say that we offer more functionality than yell.com: but we cannot in future make direct comparisons of visitor numbers with yell.com because we offer more functionality. We will of course abide by the ASA’s ruling.”

The full ASA ruling can be found here