Bigbook this week launches a service to provide Web site development to small and medium-size businesses across the country.
While BigBook has been creating home pages for companies listed in its Yellow Pages since its inception, the service -- dubbed BigBook WebSite -- marks a new revenue stream for the San Francisco-based company.
BigBook will design, produce and host a company's Web site for between $50 and $200 a month, depending on the size and complexity of the site. To sell the product, BigBook has formed relationships with independent sales reps and is forming partnerships with regional media outlets, including The Washington Post, that already have relationships with local businesses.
Although fewer than a dozen small businesses have signed on to date, BigBook optimistically predicts more than one million companies will use the service within the next year.
"BigBook not only offers an inexpensive way for companies to get online," said Allen Weiner, an analyst with Dataquest,"but the service also offers local, regional and sometimes national traffic right from their site."
BigBook, which currently boasts about 16 million listings in its yellow pages, is facing competition from other interactive startups like WorldPages and from the regional Bells.
"Time to market really matters in this industry," said Kris Hagerman, president and CEO of BigBook. "And the regional Bells are having a tough time trying to figure out how to go after online markets while still protecting their very lucrative print operations."
Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.