New online business directory launches, uses TelOne directory data

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The online directory of the Zimbabwe’s sole fixed line operator, is by far one of the most useful websites locally providing business phone numbers and addresses. It’s the go to web destination to locate businesses. But it’s also far from perfect as a tool to connect to businesses, having no way for business owners to update their information, no maps to help with directions, no way to search for a business whose name you don’t know, and information limited to just the addresses and phone numbers.

You could argue of course that the directory was originally never meant to provide any more than just what it does now, but that would be to ignore that it’s been published on the internet to serve a purpose and so far it’s falling short. A new online business directory in beta by a company called Sweetmellon Publishers realises this and is out to fix it. Using TelOne’s own data. And they are not stopping there; they’re even planning to lunch their own physical business directory in just 2 months.

We came upon Sweetmellon’s theDirectory a few days ago and noticed there was something different about it; It is that unlike other such new projects, this one has data, lots of it. Searches you do actually yield results. It’s so much listed businesses just need to verify their entries and maybe add more information. Looking at the data they have we could see the data was scrapped off the TelOne online directory, or off a site that scrapped it off TelOne. Point is being it’s TelOne data.

This clearly makes theDirectory more useful that TelOne’s directory. And since they seem to understand the internet much more than TelOne so far, this could actually work very well for them. The only mistake we noticed is that they scrapped everything including individual (non-business) data resulting in a lot of people’s addresses being on the site. We suspect they couldn’t differentiate. Their argument here could be that the data is already public so no one should complain.

TelOne and Directory Publishers will probably be unhappy with this model of course. Directory Publishers has its own Yellow Pages website that it outsourced to local web company and judging by the time it’s been online against its usefulness so far, the polite way to put it is it hasn’t been a resounding success.

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8 Comments

  1. Robasta says:

    google also used other peep’s data (not that its okay though). That Telone site needs some work, pixelated imgs oh and that menu…

  2. Munje Mkasi says:

    just goes to show… u might be sittin on a pot o gold and not realise it

  3. JM75 says:

    I am not happy with the fact that the owners of the website have published  individual home addresses and telephones online without authorisation from the people affected. Even with Telone , there was an option to chose whether you wanted to be in the directory or not. The information belongs to telone as per agreement it has with its customers. The website owners have no right to publish individual  addresses and details without the customer’s permission.  Does zispa allow such websites to operate. I am writing to zispa to de-activate this domain , until the owners comply. I am also not happy with the owner , who answered my call and dropped in a rude way.  Unless the customers approves their details to be online , this website must be suspended. This is no different from someone getting hold of  bank databases , and publishing that information without authority. May I request techzim to investigate if this website is legally operating by publishing customer information without permission.

    1. Liberty Dandira says:

      This guy is against any step to progress in Zimbabwe. These kinds of websites are found everywhere

  4. Harrison Ford, Air Force 1 says:

    We must fight this. Who knows who will be encouraged to do this again? Econet?

  5. Senior_Lecturer_Bhurakwacha says:

    Once you agree to have your information publicised, its now in the public domain and owned by everyone who comes into contact with it. Its like the digital blueprint you leave when you sign up for social networking or whatever other interests you have online. What happens with that information is out of your control. Agreeing with TELOne to have your detail in the directory is the same thing. Why then dont you sue TelOne when a telemarketer calls you having obtained your info in the directory?

  6. Dialicious says:

    Mmnn – “Proudly Zimbabwean” – then why is it hosted outside the country, speed sucks. Also, in SA a huge court case was lost by someone to tried this with Telkoms data. Maybe that’s why they are not hosted in Zim. Also they are listing “unlisted” numbers. Where did they get this data – me thinks someone at Telone is gonna get fired……

    I will continue to use Telone’s site

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