Brownbook is set up so that anyone can edit it instantly, offering businesses no-cost and low-cost tools to promote their businesses online. Dave Ingram says the wife of co-developer Marc Lyne came up with the name.
“We were writing all of our specs in one of these, you know, hard back lined books with brown covers—a kind of recycled book. Marc’s wife, actually, one evening referred to the project as ‘that brown book project.’ The name kind of endeared itself to us because of its simplicity.”
The inspiration came from the work background of the developers.
“There’s this big industry called the directories or Yellow Pages or whatever you want to call it, which is, you know, really still following quite an old model of centralized production and publishing. And then you’ve got this whole new world of user-generated content. Well, you know, we’re thinking someone has gotta merge, and kind of ‘Wikipedia meets Yellow Pages,’ if I had to coin a phrase for it.”
Any user on Brownbook can do almost everything for free.
“The point at which they’re required to pay is a business owner — what we call claiming their listing, which is essentially taking control of their listing and then being able to customize it and add photos and videos and their logo, you know, to really make it unique and stand out from the other listings.”
Over 27 million businesses are listed worldwide in Brownbook, and there are plans to expand into other languages.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.