For a company that began life in the 90s as a directory of people and businesses on CD-ROM, 192.com has certainly come a long way and is now the UK’s most popular online directory. Of the 11m people who use the site every month, 192.com now boasts 2.5m unique mobile visitors and 1.25m tablet users, with 34 per cent of all traffic now coming from mobile devices.
Mobile traffic increased 92 per cent from January to December 2012, and 913 per cent between January 2011 and December 2012. Tablet traffic, meanwhile, grew 196 per cent during 2012, and a massive 2261 per cent from January 2011 to December 2012. According to Experian, last month 192.com had 18 per cent more visitors than its closest rival, Yell.com. “We expect mobile to be 50 per cent of traffic within the next year," said Dominic Blackburn, Product Director.
Key to its success is that 192.com aggregates data from more sources than any other company, holding the records of 4m business in the UK, along with the details 35m people - more than either Linkedin or Facebook. “We use public record data, which means it is reliable and independently sourced. With social sites, there is no guarantee that what people say is accurate or true,” he said.
The company recently launched m.192.com, enabling its users to quickly search for people, businesses or places while on the go. “We thought long and hard about developing an app, but you have to look at where you put your development resource. With the mobile site, we can develop the functionality much faster and we’re only designing to a single standard,” Blackburn said.
“Because mobile traffic has grown so dramatically, we are in the process of shifting our focus and any new development is mobile first. It is much easier to make something bigger than shrink it down to the size of a mobile screen.”
192.com reunites 35,000 people every year with family members, with some tear jerking tales, and also enables people to identify dodgy business, or romantic, partners. The company gets its revenue from a mixture of advertising and subscriptions, and its high quality, unique content ensures it scores well with Google.