Business Internet Directory Ltd

Trading >From Selby, North Yorkshire

Posted September 23d 2005 ~ Last Updated 6th March 2006
1st March 2006, ASA Rules against Business Internet Directory Ltd.
On 1st March 2006 The Advertising Standards Authority reported that it had upheld some complaints against Business Internet Directory Ltd. and had dismissed others. The full Adjudication can be seen here

StopECG hopes this will be the end of the problems surrounding this company.

DISCLAIMER This website is in no way affiliated or assoaciated with The Business Internet Directory Ltd. This is a non-commercial website and this page is merely our appraisal of the selling tactics used by Business Internet Directory Ltd.


  1. Company Info
  2. Sample letter
  3. Our anaylisis of the sample letter
  4. Checking Them Out
  5. General advice on directory listings
Company Info

Business Internet Directory Ltd Trade within the UK

Contact details:
Business Internet Directory Ltd
Micklegate House,
North Yorkshire
Y08 4EA

Company No 4225065
VAT No: 772 2051 50

Sample letter Click images to enlarge

Unopened letter, Sep 2005

Front, 2005 Letter

Our anaylisis of the sample letter
We have transcribed the text of the letter into the box below and have added comments about each paragraph in Blue

Important Dated material
MISLEADING: This phrase is also visible through the window of the unopened letter and the outside of the envelope has no company name on it. This means the recipient is very likely to open it thinking that it is an official communication that they should read.

12 September 2005


Dear sir Or Madam

MISLEADING: Gives the impression that the message has come from the line installer, certainly does not make it clear that this is an advertisement!

It is important that your new business details are present and correct on the national directory for UK businesses.
MISLEADING: "the national directory" rather than "our national directory" could easily lead the reader to think that this is the only national directory, furthermore use of the phrase "It is important" could lead the reader to believe this is a letter they are required to act on, rather than advert for a directory many people have never heard of

Business Internet Directory is responsible for listing over 2 million businesses on the internet. This ensures that the details listed below can be found online.
CORRECT: (we trust them to tell the truth regarding the number of entries on their database) a listing does ensure that your details can be found online, so would the act of posting to a message board or uploading a blog, the fact that they can be found online does not mean that anyone will find them!

As you can see you need to inform you of your business category so we can activate your listing. Please call new registrations on 0870 010 7692 so that we can complete your listing
MISLEADING: "you need to inform you of your business category so we can activate your listing" gives the impression that this is a required process, related to the installation of a new phone, when in fact all they are trying to do is get you to call so they can sell you something The Phrase "new registrations" is particularly misleading.. Why not say "Our Sales team". It is also by no means clear that a basic listing will not be inserted even if you do not call... have all 2 million businesses listed in the directory called up to activate their listings?

Below this are the company details, filled out with the 'Category Of Business' blank

Checking Them Out

OK, Lets Call them up....

Kept on hold for less than a minute before the call was answered.

"Would you like my reference number?" Reply: "Yes" ref was used to bring up my business, I was then asked to confirm my address and an error was corrected.
I was then asked if I had a website, I gave the address, she was on the website almost immediately, "We will Set up a hyperlink"
At his point she was into her patter, "we are the national online database for business listings and we..."
I was offered keywords, she suggested words she could see on the website and was very helpful, I was also offered a map link

Only after all these details had been sorted out did she offer me a prioritized listing for the "administration Fee" of 89.50 + VAT
When I declined a prioritized listing she sounded genuinely disappointed and began a hard sell. "Why did I not want the priority listing?" I explained I spent my money with Google. I also asked her about traffic to the directory website.
She claimed that the website had received 1.5 million hits* in the last 6 months and that 85% of businesses who had a prioritized listing renewed the next year

If I did not have a prioritized listing I would only get a name, address, and phone number; No hyperlink, keywords or map... I settled for the free listing

While businessinternetdirectory's selling tactics appear somewhat misleading I could not have got through the telephone conversation without being aware that there was a fee. That said I could have made the call and wasted a considerable amount of time under the misapprehension that I was making a required update to a free entry. Only to be let told of the cost at the end.

Note: This company has previously fallen foul of trading standards. However the current mailing does not repeat any of the mistakes made in 2003

General advice on directory listings
Finally I phoned up a few businesses that had priority listings with Business Internet Directory Ltd. and was amazed to find that none of them actually tracked their web traffic.
You can get a free tracker from Extreme Tracking Which will give you stats on who is referring visitors to your sites, alternatively, ask your web hosting company, many provide similar information from the visitor logs. Tracking visitors is the best way to get an idea which directory listings are worth the money.

Utilises its toolbar to track surfing habits and the popularity of websites You can then look up any domain and get a snapshot of its popularity, stopECG recommend you do this before paying for any online directory listing as some directories have very low traffic.

Alexia's stats for on 23rd September 2005 gave it a ranking of 251,648, reaching approximately 1 in every 250,000 internet users. By comparison Google reaches 1 in 5 internet users, so on the Alexia yardstick is hardly a resounding success!

When she quoted the number of "hits" the directory website had recieved this actually provided me with very little information...
Hits is a very misleading term, some websites count a hit as a unique visit to the website, so if you visit, conduct 5 searches, look at the contact page then leave - 1 hit. Other sites will count every page view as a hit, so you would have generated 7 hits with the same visit and searches... It is not clear how businessinternetdirectory count hits.

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