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Data Marketing
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Account Manager, YouCom Direct


Have you ever seen your business listed on a directory site and wondered how it got there? Perhaps the information is wrong and you correct it but it reverts back to the incorrect data again? It will help if you understand the origin of that information. The national database known as OSIS.    

In this article, YouCom Direct will share;

– What is OSIS?
– Why you can’t change your business details on the directory site displaying the wrong data.
– How you can change your business details on OSIS.
– How do you find OSIS?
– European OSIS
– Alternative databases.

As a directory agency we manage a company’s details for their stores across all print and online directories. It is our knowledge together with buying power that makes us a valuable partner. But we don’t just keep our knowledge to ourselves. OSIS is not widely known but equally it’s no secret either.  

What is OSIS?

“OSIS” stands for Operator Services Information System and is a stream of seemingly endless data flowing along corridors of database servers.


Like all large datasets, OSIS is much in demand and has never lost its popularity. It is a database of directory data managed by BT Wholesale Directory Services. The data is used to populate the BT Phone Book printed directory and is bought by other companies such as Thomson Local, Yellow Pages (once owned by BT), the 118 telephone directory companies and a large amount of online directory sites.   

YouDirectories-OSIS-the-origin-of-directories-4       YouDirectories-OSIS-the-origin-of-directories-Yalwa  

Directory sites like are very well established, has 10.9 million monthly views, but how did they begin? Look at, see how different they are to Yalwa currently have 82,000 monthly views (a far cry from 10.9 million), yet they already seem to have a lot of businesses listed on their site.  

This means when your customers search for your business, one of the Google search results could show a Yalwa URL link. But the information could be incorrect. Perhaps your telephone number is wrong on Yalwa, or the address inaccurate.

So how did they obtain their data and your business details specifically?  

BT Wholesale is obliged to make OSIS available to any organisation who wishes to pay for it, specifically under Universal Service Condition 7.4 (USC7.4) which states that

“BT shall supply [the contents of a directory information database] on terms which are fair, objective, cost-oriented and not unduly 
discriminatory…”. A condition frequently challenged by those who pay to rent it. 


The OSIS database contains more than 26 million residential and business names, addresses, and telephone numbers supplied to BT by over 80 UK Communication Providers and sources such as Companies House.  

When an individual requests a new telephone line and agrees to be listed in the telephone directory, the data will be entered into BT OSIS. When a new business starts up, the data will be entered into BT OSIS. This makes the BT OSIS database very accurate and up-to-date (The database is updated 6 days a week).    

There are three types of entry on the OSIS database:

Directory Entry – The printed phone book is comprised of these records. A telephone number can be appended to a name and address that matches to a directory entry record on OSIS.

Directory Enquiries Only – These listings are not present in the phone book, but are made available to directory enquiry 118 services. You can append a phone number from these entries where it matches the name and address on your record.

Ex-Directory – Ex-Directory listings are only available in telephone directory enquiry 118 services. Don’t worry, only the fact that the record is ex-directory may be provided.


Why can’t you change your business details on the directory site displaying the wrong data?

Type your business brand name and the town of your store location into a search engine like Google. If you see an incorrectly listed entry for your business on an online directory like Yalwa, why can’t you contact them and change it?  

The short answer is, you can. You can also pay them for a paid-listing to feature more prominently in their search results (the fundamental service of YouCom Direct as an agency). But the next time that online directory uploads a new data feed from OSIS, all the non-paid for listings will be replaced by the OSIS data. In other words, although you’ve changed the incorrect data, the change is overwritten by the old incorrect data from OSIS.

You can’t stop the waves and you can’t surf against the tide either…    


How can you change your business details on OSIS?

Keeping it simple, there are two options.

One, contact BT Wholesale and make a formal request to amend the data. This process can take between three to six months. You will need to check it afterwards to ensure there isn’t a duplicate data entry still containing the old incorrect data.  

Secondly, you can take the stance of the larger advertisers and pay a specialist directory agency like YouCom Direct to do it for you. YouCom Direct will reach out to BT OSIS and change your data as quickly as 1-2 weeks. We see it in all walks of life that businesses respond quicker, to other companies whom they sell to (in our case, BT sells directory advertising to us for paid listings and paid classified adverts).  


How do you find OSIS?

You don’t find OSIS.  OSIS finds you. 

But you can change their data.

BT Wholesale Directory Solutions (BTWDS) is a ring-fenced unit within BT Wholesale. They aggregate telephone number information from Communication Providers (CPs) in order to produce an accurate central telephone number database historically referred to as the OSIS database. Under OFCOM regulations, all UK CPs that have signed a Schedule 11 agreement have to provide BTWDS with their customers’ name, address and telephone number information. At present there are over 80 CPs in the UK e.g. BT, Virgin Media, Cable & Wireless etc.  

OSIS data can only be used in Directory Products and Services by companies who wish to produce Directory Information products or services, who agree to their pricing terms and gains authorisation from BTWDS to receive OSIS data. OSIS data is sold under specific terms and conditions including the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Information Commissioners Code of Practice on Telecommunications Directory Information covering the Fair Processing of Personal Data and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. – Licensees must agree to abide by these within the terms of the Directory Information Licence Agreement. OSIS cannot be used for Validation and Verification of individuals or in associated Validation and Verification Services.    


European OSIS

Operator Services Information Systems aren’t only peculiar to the UK of course. YouCom Direct talk with media owners across Europe and manage listings in several EU countries. In Sweden these are primarily Eniro and Rejta businesss directory websites, Din Del and the 118 118 directory assistance service. In Norway, Proff and the 1880 directory assistance are the main directories. Danish search services are marketed under the (now owned by Eniro), Mostrup and Den Røde Lokalbog brands plus several others, while Panorama Firm is the brand in Poland. Finland customers encounter the 0100100 brand.

All take their data from OSIS equivalents such as Factual, a database of 75.8 million local business listings in 50 countries. Or Schober, a B2B data provider in Germany.    

Alternative databases

There are other data sources also, OSIS shouldn’t be the only place you look.  

The Postcode Address File

(PAF) is a database of every address in the UK to which mail is delivered, together with its appropriate postcode. This database contains over 28 million addresses of residential, business and other organisations. The PAF is produced by the Royal Mail and is updated quarterly.

The National Change of Address register
(NCOA) records individuals and businesses when they relocate. CRM practices teach all marketing mangers that to retain existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. With the NCOA register you can maintain contact with your customers when they move home, saving cost and increasing profits via an elongated customer life cycle.

The Gone Away Suppression
(GAS) File from The Data Agency uses both public and private data sources and is a compiled list of individuals at addresses they are known to have moved from. In every case, each move out is qualified by a move in to ensure accuracy.

Despite the other data sources, OSIS is certainly the most powerful database storing data on your business and if you don’t ensure its correct (and remains correct…), then every other organisation and directory site renting their data, will broadcast incorrect details about your brand and ruin your SEO.

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OSIS – Operator Services Information System

GAS – Gone Away Suppression

NCOA – National Change of Address register

PAF – Postcode Address File

B2B – Business to Business

YALWA – Yet another local web application

CP – Communication Providers

SEO – Search engine optimisation

BTWDS – BT Wholesale Directory Solutions

Data source:

OSIS Definition

BT Wholesale

Universal Service Condition explained within an Ofcom dispute raised by Thomson Local over costs of renting OSIS.

Ofcom dispute on OSIS rental costs between The Number (118 188) and BT wholesale proving that telephone directories like 118 118 also obtain their business data from OSIS

EU Factual Database

Schober Database

Required reference

YouCom Direct News Article, Jul 2019, London, ‘OSIS, the origin’.


Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

Every street is local to the people that live there

Every street is local to the people that live there. Focusing online content on local keywords generates more search results with Google’s algorithm favouring localised sites. This approach is required on each site that lists your store. Online directories are effectively duplicates of your own store pages. But, vary the content and these won’t be seen as duplicate pages, instead search engines will categorise them as ‘additional pages’ (new content). This means more search results for your brand on page one of a Google search and less of your competitors. Inserting local keywords into your store page’s title / meta description tags is the first step toward local ranking.

Your localised content should focus on long-tail keywords to delineate your site

Your localised content should focus on long-tail keywords to delineate your site. Long-tail keywords will help the store page rank higher than a generic keyword which have much more competition. ‘Storage Greenwich’ may describe your service and local area, but ‘Best storage company in Greenwich’ will have less competitor noise and be more likely to reach your sales market. Don’t forget the meta description tag is truncated in search results if too long, so for geographic keywords it is better to insert them as near the beginning of the tag as possible.

The Itsukushima Shrine (also known as the floating torii gate) is example of localised content

The Itsukushima Shrine (also known as the floating torii gate) is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan (shown above). Localised content that can be displayed on your store pages and your online directory listing pages alike should contain information relevant to the local area.  Detailing nearby local landmarks is perfect for this goal.  But content marketing management is (relatively) easy once you get going / have experience.  For instance, have you considered adding testimonials from local businesses you’ve served?  Suppliers or SME customers are often very willing to provide a testimonial and that is like gold to Google searching for local content in a search results page.

Before producing localised content for your store area, identify your target audience


Before producing localised content for your store area, identify your target audience. Ask your store managers to interview customers face-to-face. Those interviews themselves can provide additional local content for that store.  Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to measure search volumes for the keywords that were identified out of that customer research.   If you’re lucky enough to have people willing to link back to your store page either via their personal blog or review, make sure you have content that is worth shouting about to give them reason to do so.  Some tool that represents an advantage over your competitors or at least appears new to customers will do that job.


Such a tool for localised content could be a virtual tour where blog writers or reviewers can discuss your industry in general and then give an example of how people can now walk around a store to answer their questions without even visiting.  Such a tool is newsworthy and worth writing about, relevant to both the readers and to Google. 

Becoming active in your local town or village will also generate ideas for localised content, so you can be authentic in your writing (no one else will have that content and the same keyword search terms that you know your customers will use to find your service, will be ranked higher within that content due to its originality).

Hosting local events is one such example of being active in your local community

Hosting local events is one such example of being active in your local community.  If your store has a lot of space that will lend itself to the activity nicely.  If the local event is charity related you will also generate natural, original, localised content for your store page.  Attending local events or sponsoring local events are other ways to cultivate your community inclusion.  Now we know we are creating local content to rank better in a search engine.  But don’t forget, the main idea should also be to position your brand in the local community.  For that reason, it is essential to publish strategic content on different media channels.

Links to high page authority sites increase your ranking


Social media should be your main channel highlighting your community activity and linking back to your store pages that display it. But good high-ranking local landing pages will add to this and accelerate the results of your hard work providing excellent localised content.  YouCom Direct have a strong partnership with a local landing page company to achieve just that for our clients and priced on performance (so the only cost being when customers click through to your store page from the localised landing page or make a call to your store).


Local search marketing works best when utilising store page assets such as your own local research and statistics. For example, you have customers, right?  So, you record sales history.  From this you can glean sales patterns, data trends.  You are sitting on your own gold mine of data.  So, analyse this (or give it to an agency to do it for you) and put the resulting statistics on your store page (localised content derives from such data). By doing this you are creating the opportunity for bloggers and local media outlets to reference these statistics and create new backlinks for you naturally.

Our social media marketing gains 1,000 new followers a month

As a specialist agency in directory advertising, contact us for more information on building localised content, circulating localised content via online directory networks, connecting to high page authority bloggers for natural link building and for social media marketing that gains 1,000 new followers a month (see our own Twitter).  All of our services are paid by performance with a cost per customer lead or cost per click (i.e. pay-by-results performance marketing). So, you only have to supply an advertising budget when we perform.


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Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Jan 2019, London, ‘Localised Content’.


Data Marketing
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouCom Direct

Everyone wants to personalise their look


Everyone wants to personalise their look.  E-commerce has for a long time seen the benefits and value to data personalisation. Amazon and Tesco are famous online sellers who collect vast amounts of data on customer’s purchasing patterns. They analyse recency and frequency of purchase, behavioural trends and patterns. These are used to power their offers and suggestions to sell you more things. ‘Bricks & Mortar’ sellers, often struggle to replicate those successes (with exception to those that do well on both like Tesco). In 2018 we have identified a shift in understanding with physical retailers making changes to introduce personalisation practices.

70 percent of retailers are personalising the in-store experience


According to one research company, 70 percent of retailers with a physical store presence are now personalising the in-store experience to compete with their online counterparts. Let us introduce ‘Facenote’, a machine learning AI software that recognises your customers using face recognition techniques. By personalising the customer service, briefing sales staff to personal preferences and tracking their needs, such software can lead to greater customer loyalty and retention as well as upselling benefits.

To register, brands invite their customers to be identified by texting their selfies


The software requires only a simple webcam or regular security camera.  Its algorithms allow for customer recognition and identification. Shoppers can then be welcomed by name, and staff on the sales floor can be briefed on each customer’s personal preferences and purchasing habits. In-store product recommendations can then be personalised in the same way that Amazon does to you online.  To register, brands invite their customers to be identified by texting their selfies or sharing Instagram images.

Amazon uses algorithms to personalise user’s homepages


A study by salesforce found that 52 percent of consumers would switch from a brand that doesn’t personalise their marketing communications.  This is why Amazon uses algorithms to personalise user’s homepages with product recommendations based on previous search and purchase history. When you read this, you think “makes sense”.  But the majority of retailers have a simple one-size-fits-all generic homepage for all logged-in users, irrespective of age, gender, behaviour, disposable income etc.

85 percent are likely to buy from a personalised mail order catalogue


The real winners in marketing are those who personalise a service or product leading to add-on sales, upselling and organic growth.  Scotts of stow are a growing mail order company who succeed with catalogues littered with the recipient’s name making various products more appealing.  Consumers will open the catalogue and see a doormat with their family’s surname on it for example and are 85 percent more likely to buy it as a result.  More than this, they do it extremely well making it seem less like a Photoshoped digital makeover and more like it is a real selling product that everyone else is buying.

Netflix know if you haven't seen this film


Netflix are one to do similar and of course they use the latest AI technology to assist their algorithm analysis.  For example, if they know you haven’t yet seen Knight and Day with leading actors Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, but you have watched many other Tom Cruise films, they will tailor the film cover in their ‘recommendations’ to show Tom Cruise.

If you watch Cameron Diaz films, you will see the Knight and Day film cover with Cameron Diaz on it.  It is clever marketing that is (relatively) simple to do and (relatively) cheap (brands don’t need to buy billboard adverts for example, simply use existing data to personalise recommendations that lead to more new sales).

Trademark Logo

YouCom Direct specialise in this same approach to business listings by personalising content based on geographic area and even consumer past purchasing history.  We use all the data our clients can share with us (after our usual NDA agreements to protect privacy) to tailor those natural search results showing in Google that originate from business directories.  We have seen a provable uplift in response rate as a result.  To discuss personalisation in more depth contact us on


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Data Source:



Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Dec 2018, London, ‘Personalisation’.


YouCom Chatter
Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

There are a lot of talented pumpkin carvers out there and in this article we present some stunning and funny designs from our mystery shoppers and publisher/supplier contacts. 

First Place – “Mr K” is the cool superhero name of Eileen’s 9-year-old.  Mr K shown above prefers to do a monster face than use a template.  Excellent Pumpkin grimace Mr K.  We look forward to what you create next year.  But it wasn’t only Mr K’s Pumpkin that won the top prize…    

Pumpkin contest by YouCom Direct

It was a family effort again that won second place with Eileen’s original Tinkerbell Pumpkin created using a drill bit.    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

And Eileen’s second attempt of a very pretty pumpkin (isn’t Halloween supposed to be scary Eileen?).  So, Eileen and Mr K win £15.00


Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Second Place goes to Dani for this Batman and Superman inspired effort with crazy teeth pumpkin in the background.  But this image alone wouldn’t have won without a little help from our furry legged friends as shown by the same picture in the daytime…    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Bat girl and Spider Dog to the rescue.  Dani wins £5.00  

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Lucy and her son Tyler are missing Disney and carved a Mickey Mouse Pumpkin.  Mum and son also carved Goofy, but the photos didn’t come out so well.  However, this effort judged with photos that we can’t upload, wins a third prize of £5.00.  Well done Lucy and Tyler!    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Group Account Director Award
Louisa’s boys were very keen for her to send their pumpkin efforts again this year.  The glitter pumpkin on the left is the work of 3 year old Oliver.  The scary face on the right is by 5 year old Benjamin!  Well done Benjamin!  They win the special Group Account Director award of £7.00    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Louisa’s husband and Life-long Mansfield Town fan sneaked his own design in between the boys pumpkins late one night, a carefully crafted pumpkin showing he’s a real football fan (no prawn sandwiches for him on match day).    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

One of our favourite pumpkins for cuteness factor was submitted by Petra having first been drawn all over by her 3-year old.  Very colourful.    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Laura’s daughter Sophie age 3 years helped her mum make the cat pumpkin and was very insistent on how it should look (an agency creative director in the making there).  Laura’s son Alfie, age 6 years, made the other pumpkin all by himself!  Well done Alfie!  And a very cute mini-pumpkin made by Alfie too.  We’ll be sending mummy some equally cute finger puppets because we’ve run out of cash prizes.    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Marie runs a creative and engaging blog and sent in the above.  Excellent effort by Marie and family and worthy of highlighting here.    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Jackie made her first pumpkin for ages after her children previously made them.  Placed at the entrance to her house by the looks of it, this spooky chap will scare off trick or treat visitors!    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Afra’s pumpkin is uniquely adorable.  Made with her 11 year old daughter who absolutely loves owls, this ‘Owl Pumpkin’ with it’s slightly odd eyes will bring a light and a laugh to even the darkest night.  And as Afra says, how many pumpkins do you see with feet?  Well done all!    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

Hannah’s son Jaxon (with a little help from dad) carved this and clever mum made pumpkin soup for tea.    

Pumpkin Contest by YouCom Direct

We end this year’s competition with a simple yet slightly sinister pair of pumpkins from Laura B. Thanks to everyone who took part.  Always remember if you’re making something anyway, give a competition a go, you might just win!  

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Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Oct 2017, London, ‘Pumpkins 2017.


Data Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

Personalisation by YouCom Direct

At YouCom Direct we focus on something called ‘Design Personalisation’.  We tailor client’s advertising to show accurate local content for stores, but we also have specifically designed adverts for a local audience and personalised messaging.  These adverts have a design that is unlike anything you normally see in Yellow Pages or online and will create customer engagement to drive higher call volumes (as you can see from these images).  

To understand the ROI from marketing design personalisation, we should first look at hospitality marketing.  Hospitality is a collection of supplementary services that adds value to a purchase by treating customers like guests, providing amenities that anticipate the person’s needs during their interaction with the service/product provider.  Hospitality marketing ensures employees treat customers as guests, greeting them with pleasure when meeting them for the first time and when old customers return.  They are creating a personalised experience for each customer.  This creates brand loyalty in a fractious marketplace.  Pret do this very well.

Pret rated the highest on personalised interaction with customers

A survey of 4,500 consumers by Market Force, asked consumers to rate their satisfaction with their last experience at a coffee shop and how likely they would be to recommend it to friends. The data was averaged to rate each company brand on a Composite Loyalty Index.  Pret also rated the highest on seven of the eight critical drivers of satisfaction, primarily driven by ‘friendliness of staff’.  Courtesy for customer’s needs extends to all forms of marketing communication.  Face-to-face like in Pret, but also telephone and online interaction.  

Brands realise the importance of customer lifecycle marketing

Brands realise that the customer lifecycle is more important than short-term sales and seek to build customer loyalty to gain repeat business and upsell opportunities.  In the USA, hospitals make a lot of money from people because they don’t have a national health service free at point of use like in the UK.  They know the reason most families start using a hospital is to give birth and with so many birthing centres and hospital, they face stiff competition.  Stiff competition and a service/product that opens the door to further ‘sales’ opportunities will require hospitality marketing to make that service or product more personal to the customer.

74 percent of marketers know personalisation is good for business

To gain new customers, brands seeking to deliver hospitality marketing messages do so via data personalisation.  According to an Econsultancy study, 74 percent of marketers know personalisation is good for business, yet the same study reveals only 19 percent of marketers are actually using personalisation.  BMW improved sales conversion rates by 30 percent by personalising their media messages with customer’s first names.  BMW know that your brand begins to have added value in the customer’s mind when you design the adverts to create engagement via tools such as personalisation.  

The search for competitive advantage in mature industries will come down to not where you advertise but what and how you advertise.  The creation of value-added services and supplementary services to make your product/service/brand stand out from the competition.  Managers must be aware of selecting the right mix of supplementary services and the right agency will help you to do that.  YouCom Direct won’t just list your store details on websites with high user numbers, we focus on ‘personalising’ your store data to become relevant to the customer on a local level.  Good Design Personalisation is an effective form of local marketing.  

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Data source: Survey by Market Force, a leading global customer intelligence solutions company.  

Required reference: YouCom Direct News, Jun 2017, London, ‘Personalisation.’


Consumer Behaviour
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouCom Direct


Many local business’s today are overwhelmed by the variety of local marketing choices available across desktop, mobile and tablet platforms. Many don’t know where to start which is where these marketing tips help.   At YouCom Direct, we understand how every local business is trying its utmost best to attract as many local customers as possible. We can help businesses outperform their competitors through local search optimisation and directory advertising.

Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Accurate & Accessible Information

One of the most important aspects of local search is ensuring that your businesses information is consistent, accurate and accessible throughout the web.

50% of business owners have listings for their business that are not accurate.

70% of business owners say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use.

Only 23% of business owners have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business.

If your business information is outdated or appears in different ways in different places, it will not only lower your visibility in search it will make it difficult or even impossible for potential customers to find you.  

Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Optimise Your Website
Make sure that potential customers can find your business in search by listing all relevant information in the website title. Create individual pages for each business location as well as each product or service your business offers. This will raise the visibility of each in search, making it easier for potential customers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Use keywords and phrasing that potential customers are most likely to use. Include basic business name, address and phone number information on every page of your website. This not only boosts SEO, but also makes it easier for a potential customer to contact or visit your business.  We recommend more than this of course for a website needs a UX focus but these are the basic tips.  

Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Mobile Friendly

One of the biggest mistakes your business can make is not optimising its website for mobile. 50% of local searches are carried out on mobile devices. If a potential customer attempts to access your website via mobile but is interrupted by pages not loading, sizing issues or the inability to find information, they are more likely to go back into search until they find one of your competitors.

70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. Why? Because mobile users are on the go. When a consumer grabs their smartphone to search, they have a specific intent in mind.  

Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Visual Content

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, you want to take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message. Consumers today are attracted to photos and engaging videos, they also help to boost website SEO and improve visibility for local listings.

Studies show our brains not only process visuals faster, but they retain and transmit much more information when it’s delivered visually.

According to Brightcove, video on social sites generates 1,200% more engagement than texts and images.  Imagine what this could do to your business listing on a directory site?  But you need the right sort of video so talk to us to get it right.  

Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Don’t ignore reviews
If you want your business to appear prominently for localised searches, then you will certainly need to consider how your customers are able to leave reviews for your business online. The importance of accumulating genuine and honest reviews is increasing.

People are looking for reviews on local businesses to determine if they are exactly what they want or try somewhere else. Customers are now sensitised to write reviews and publish them, especially after a positive service and experience.  

For 7 out of 10 consumers, positive reviews inspire trust. This highlights just how important they are for a local business, and it’s clear that reputation management is something that cannot be ignored.

  Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Over 20% of searches on Google today are from users who are looking for local information and 97% of all consumers are going online to look for local companies. Using the above tips can really help to engage your customers. 83% of people doing online local searches then continue with a number of actions offline such as phone calls, emails, visits or even purchases. What’s interesting is how consumers are researching online but buying locally.   Contact us to discuss how we can help you enhance your customer engagement using the above great tips and much more!

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Glossary: UX – User Experience SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, April 2017, London, ‘Local Marketing Tips’.


YouCom Chatter
Copywriter:  Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct

Pumpkin Entry: Master Benjamin Fryatt, son of Louisa Fryatt (with help from Daddy)

Photo Credit: Master Benjamin Fryatt, son of Louisa Fryatt (with a little help from Daddy)

Pumpkins are pretty hard to ignore. After all they are huge and a lovely bright orange. You can find them just about everywhere this time of year, from your front porch to your daily latte. In the spirit of Halloween celebrations, we asked our mystery shoppers to enter a competition with us. We want to thank everyone who took part, we had a lot of fun looking at all the ways people can carve a pumpkin!  There were scary pumpkins and funny pumpkins, pumpkins with amazing animals carved and pumpkins with bugs on top, even a pumpkin that looked like Peppa Pig! They were all absolutely brilliant, we found it very tough to pick a winner, but we had to choose. The winners are as follows:

  Elite mystery shopper Olivia Hack wins 1st Prize!

First Place – Olivia Hack for this outstanding tiger. Olivia is one of our elite mystery shoppers, if you want to know more about becoming an elite mystery shopper contact me via the website contact form.  Olivia wins £25.00  

Mystery Shopper Viki Marden wins 2nd Prize!

Second Place – Viki Marden, this one scared us!  Viki wins £10.00  

Maya Morgan's "spooky face" and personal effort wins 3rd place!  Well Done Maya!

Third Place – Rebecca Morgan, we couldn’t resist Maya Morgan’s adorable smile (while trying to look spooky) and the amazing effort that she did on this pumpkin.  Maya wins herself £5.00 to spend on her favourite sweets (with mummy’s approval of course!)  

Jemma McGowan wins the special group account director award for a memorial day pumpkin in honour of our fallen heroes.

Competition’s don’t have a fourth place, but we have a Group Account Director Special Award and that goes to Jemma McGowan for a Poppy Day Memorial pumpkin in honour of our fallen heroes.  The special award wins £7.00  

Congratulations to the 4 winners!

Here are a few other entries that were on our shortlist but just missed out.

Luka showed her brother a thing or two when it came to pumpkin carving and Mario added a boys touch for this Pumpkin dinner guest!

The Larkin family made this one; “Luka and Mario loved carving pumpkins but it turned the pumpkin’s stomach.” (Luka showed her brother a thing or two when it came to pumpkin carving, but Mario added the boys touch of sauciness to this dinner guest)  

Caitlin Teo made this scary cat! (mystery shopping mum Eileen supervised)
Mystery Shopper Eileen Teo’s daughter Caitlin made a scary yet cute cat:  

Kieran Teo made this scary pumpkin! (mystery shopping mum Eileen supervised)

Mystery Shopper Eileen Teo’s son Kieran created this one, the triangle eyes are great:  

Emma Easton's effort scared everyone in the office, we even had to get it approved to publish! hahaha (precision carving skills)

Mystery Shopper Emma Easton, very scary!  

Florinela Nedelcu's beautiful Halloween cat is a well deserving entry (we can't wait to see next years...)

Mystery Shopper Florinela Nedelcu, cute kitty, the whiskers are great:  

George Laws and Son send us a stern faced pumpkin from Scotland

Mystery Shopper George Laws, the eyes make this one look extra evil:  

Georgia Knight makes what must be the prettiest scary pumpkin with this lace-style effort.

Mystery Shopper Georgia Knight, the crosses above the eyes look like stitches eeeeek!

   Jacinta Zechariah's stunning designs seem to float in the air

Mystery Shopper Jacinta Zechariah, such an excellent effort

  Katie Shacklock's Day of the Dead style entry has soft-touch lighting elegance, a Tim Burton touch of artistry.

Mystery Shopper Katie Shacklock, the bug on top is just class

   Katy Mitchell's pumpkins made us laugh.. (the poor left pumpkin...)

Mystery Shopper Katy Mitchell, the one on the left looks afraid of the one on the right haha

   Kerrie Haywood produced a stunning Witch pumpkin with this photo

Mystery Shopper Kerrie Haywood, wicked witch

Another intricately carved Pumpkin by Kerrie Haywood

Another one from Kerrie Haywood, outstanding effort

Lauren Hulme sent us a Peppa Pig special pumpkin made by mummy and daddy for their daughter (clever daddy!)

Mystery Shopper Lauren Hulme, this was made by her husband for their daughter who is Peppa Pig crazy

   Our mystery shopper Leyla Preston has a wonderful blog ( where she shows her creative mind like this photo of a cute little pumpkin

Mystery Shopper Leyla Preston, we loved this small cute pumpkin

Scary Pumpkins from creative Leyla Preston!

Another one from Leyla Preston, scary pumpkins

Prize winner Olivia Hack produces a 2nd special pumpkin (this witch ate a lot of mince pies with a slightly large bottom!)

Mystery Shopper and first prize winner Olivia Hack, this was another entry that was submitted, the hat and broom are awesome

Petra Robertson makes Portuguese Jam from Pumpkins!  Now that's creative! :)

Mystery Shopper Petra Robertson, not a pumpkin but we loved this entry. Petra makes Portuguese Pumpkin Jam

  Shane Walker knows how to create animated characters with his Pumpkins (cool eyes Shane)

Mystery Shopper Shane Walker, the eyes stand out

Are Shane Walker's Pumpkins  cool or what?  Looks like Disney's Monsters Inc.

Another one from Shane Walker, we love the teeth

   Final entry from Shane shows forward planning and perceptual artistry to get the eyes and teeth just right.

One more from Shane Walker, this one made us laugh

Tamsin Mathias shows great talent with this very spooky pumpkin for little Esme (how clever is your mummy Esme?)

Mystery Shopper Tamsin Mathias, spoooookyyyy

Mystery shoppers are keen market researchers and online media experts who undertake a variety of work for our clients and those of our parent company YouCom Media.  Work includes online questionnaires, qualitative studies, focus groups, product reviewers and many more ad-hoc market research work which assists us in supporting our clients and their brands.  We have tens of thousands of online followers and enjoy building a fun online community of new friends and valued members.  This year we look forward to sending all Elite mystery shoppers a beautiful motivational calendar which will be our next event following the Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2016.  Thank you everyone!

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  Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Oct 2016, London, ‘Pumpkin Competition.

 Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct


Imagine being paid to walk.  Every time you walk to the shops, walk to work, walk to school, walk anywhere, someone pays you money.  Well that’s what Nissan Bahar and Franky Imbesi have created and it’s taking the world by storm.  

Their mobile app counts and verifies each step you take, earning the walker 1 BW$ for approximately 10,000 steps (about five miles).  Immediately you can see it won’t earn you vast sums quickly, but hey you’re paid just for walking to work which you’re going to do every day anyway..

Bitwalking by YouDirectories

The mobile app reports the speed and type of movement as measured by the accelerometer.  However, the total amount a person can earn in one day will be capped at approximately 3 BW dollars (nearly 30,000 steps).  That’s potentially 90 BW dollars a month (£65 approx.). The Bitwalking team have also developed algorithms to prevent users operating multiple accounts.  

In 2015 and early 2016, there has been a trend for fitness trackers with Sony, Garmin, Fitbit to name a few all producing wrist bands that monitor how far you’ve walked.  The Bitwalking app just goes that one ‘step’ further by offering an extra incentive to keep fit.  In 2016 a Japanese electronics manufacturer is already working on a Bitwalking wrist band that will let users earn without needing to have their mobile with them.  

Bitwalking with YouDirectories

There are many potential advertisers and partners for such an idea.  Shoe manufacturers will be quick to come on board, health insurers (think of the advertising campaigns by Prudential life insurance), environmental firms and anyone courting publicity (Virgin are already linked to Bitwalking).  

There would be a lot of local search data from all of the users walking around their town or city which potential advertisers could have access to.  This alone would generate the real-dollars needed to get the scheme off the ground.  Foursquare was a directory app which did similar, providing user’s local walking data to advertisers by way of informing them when users ‘checked-in’ to a shop or business.  

Concerns over privacy of individual users walk patterns were answered by the co-founder Nissan Bahar who stated “That won’t be for sale.  We may explore offering advertisers the opportunity to focus on different groups depending on how active they are, but we won’t pass on any information relating to individual’s movements.”  

Employers could be invited to participate where their employees are encouraged to be healthier and the Bitwalking currency that they earn could be converted then paid in their salaries.  

Bitwalking buys coffee with YouDirectories

It’s estimated that western world users would earn on average 15 BW dollars a month.  It is unlikely users could swap BitWalk dollars for real money but they would be used to buy goods much like the barter system in place before money was invented.  Businesses that offer free coffees when you buy nine drinks (think Café Nero) could very easily get on board.  Franky Imbesi says “For some Bitwalking will be a free cup of coffee a week perhaps offered by local businesses to encourage people to explore their local shops. For others it could be a game changer, transforming their lives by enabling them to earn and trade in the same way with the rest of the world.”  

Bitwalking helps the poorest

That is a major point of appeal in the developing world.  Poorer individuals where people have to walk far to go to work or to school or just to collect their daily water, could all see real tangible benefits.  In this way the western world that has long taken part in philanthropic charity events to help those in need, could help the poorest in the world.  Some charity donations never reach their intended recipients due to charity overheads, corrupt local government officials or local gangs who steal food and other goods funded from Western charities.  But if Western companies working with Bitwalking could provide goods that users can exchange for their Bitwalking dollars, those poor individuals would directly receive the benefits.  

The online store will sell goods for the same price in BW$ as US$.  Now the 15 BW dollars per month doesn’t seem so low.  $15 is approximately £10.00.  There could be many goods bought for say three months’ worth (£30.00) and all from just walking. Keeping the virtual shelves of this online store fully stocked will be one of the first challenges for the new idea, but so far, so good.   Of course with such a new platform it isn’t available to download in the app store.  It is invite only but YouCom Direct hopes you succeed and you can try your luck below;

BitWalking Apply Here With YouDirectories




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Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Feb 2016, London, ‘Paid for BitWalking’.


Search Engine Marketing
 Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct


On March 12, 2014, Yahoo! announced that it had partnered with Yelp to bring local review data into its search experience for both mobile and desktop. Traditional Yelp information, such as ratings, reviews and user photos became interlinked with and fed to Yahoo!  


Following that US roll out, Yahoo! have now completed the same for the UK and some European countries. In the UK, like the US, this partnership is transparent with results clearly displayed as provided by Yelp. However due to the directory market differing greatly by country, in France where Pages Jaunes is such a dominant directory, Yelp provide the data feed to Pages Jaunes who in turn provide it to Yahoo! – See our earlier article from February 2013.  

YouDirectories-Yahoo!-partners-with-Yelp-2          YouDirectories-Yahoo!-partners-with-Yelp-3


Yahoo! is no longer a company known for its search products following the outsourcing of its search technology to Microsoft. Yahoo! has since tried to slow or escape from under its search deal with Microsoft, given that the partnership has failed to perform up to financial expectations. However it does want search to be a focus for its business and with local search comes local reviews.  


Yahoo! Local isn’t the only search engine to have abandoned their own local reviews and switch to a data feed from Yelp. Bing partnered with Yelp in 2012 and now include not only reviews, but ratings, images and other data. This leaves Google as the one remaining search engine giant yet to abandon their own Google+ reviews in favour of the trusted data status of Yelp’s own review system.  


Despite the competitive challenges, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer recently declared that the company is “long in search,” stressing, “We do intend to continue to invest in the search user experience, and in really making sure that Yahoo! users on the network ultimately really get a tremendous experience.”  

In a recent blog post, Anand Chandrasekaran the then senior director at Yahoo! was quoted as saying “Now when you use Yahoo! Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp. We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves.”


However, YouCom Direct have identified that the partnership is not totally a good thing for business due to the nature of review management. Many business owners have built a good Yahoo! Local profile with lots of really good reviews over many years. The Yelp-Yahoo! partnership seems good for them because Yelp is very popular for leaving business reviews and it would certainly help brands to have reviews from a well-known established review site.

But what many don’t realise is that years of accumulated Yahoo! Local reviews can be replaced in favour of a single Yelp review. The current process is that as soon as a business gains its first Yelp review, Yahoo! removes all the old Yahoo! Local reviews, rather than archiving them. The picture of the brand created by years of reviews just disappears overnight…


When users go and look at a business to see the reviews, it’s pretty common for users to bypass those businesses that only have a single review, in favour of those businesses that have a longer history of reviews.

This means that if your brand is on Yahoo! with lots of reviews and you don’t have presence on Yelp with lots of reviews, then you risk losing them to be replaced by a single Yelp review that someone decides to leave on the Yelp site.

The good news for Yelp is this now makes directory listing management on the Yelp country sites more important than ever. Very simply, if you manage your Yelp listings you’ll remove the user-generated listings of your business and create a platform for future reviews which will filter into both Bing and Yahoo!


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Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Aug 2015, London, ‘Yahoo! Yelp partners’.


Data Marketing
Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct

Foursquare PinPoint by YouCom Direct
Pinpoint’s Background
Foursquare is a not a mainstream business directory. But it is a local search and discovery service which provides a personalised local search experience for some 55 million users. By analysing the places a user goes, the things they have said that they like, and the other users whose advice they trust, foursquare suggests highly personalised recommendations of the best places to go around a user’s current location. Currently foursquare users have left more than 70 million tips and checked in to local businesses over 7 billion times. Agencies like YouCom Direct help businesses to claim their locations before then populating them with rich content and direct targeted messages to customers. More than 2 million businesses have to date claimed their locations (not all are YouCom Direct clients but we’re working on it…). Foursquare has more than 65 million places around the world and is used by currently 85,000 developers. Foursquare was launched in 2009 after being created a year earlier. In August 2014, the company launched Foursquare 8.0 which removed the check in and location sharing that began the service, to focus entirely on local search.  


Foursquare 8.0 This new version uses its own technology called “Pilgrim” and automatically detects a user’s location. By comparing historical check-in data with a combination of a user‘s current GPS mobile signal, mobile mast triangulation, mobile signal strength and surrounding Wi-Fi signals, foursquare can tell exactly where you are. Because of this geo-location software, the “check in” has become a thing of the past. Quite simply, you no longer need to tell the foursquare app which business you have visited, it already knows.  


Pinpoint They filter out inaccurate location data, so advertisers receive only the exact places that their audience goes to in the real world. Foursquare attempts to use that data to interpret the relationship between people and places, so brands can target more than just demographics. Marketers can create custom audiences using the geo-demographic (and psychographic) data that they need. It is very early in the development as an advertising service, but the results could become quite impressive.   Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

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Meanwhile, watch the latest Foursquare Places data.   

Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, May 2015, London, ‘Foursquare launch Pinpoint’.