RealTime IT News

Four Online Directory Companies Launch New At Hand Network

Four major online directory companies said they are teaming up to form the At Hand Network Yellow Pages, a nationwide network of Internet Yellow Pages services.

The At Hand Network is a business search service offering business listings information nationwide. It is operated jointly by the Internet publishing divisions of Ameritech, BellSouth, SBC Communications and U S WEST.

In June 1997, this group formed a marketing alliance that cooperatively developed "The 'Original Yellow Pages,'" a shared search page. The At Hand Network expands this service, providing consumers with a common search form, URL and accurate and complete electronic yellow pages information nationwide, the companies said.

In addition, the At Hand Network provides access to the search solutions these companies offer and provides a foundation for the future development of a network of services.

The group adopted At Hand as their common brand name, and the URL as their shared search page. The former At Hand site, operated by SBC Interactive, was renamed SMARTpages, and covers the seven states served by Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell.

"The creation of the At Hand Network represents a significant advancement for the companies involved", said Donald J. Perozzi, group president BellSouth advertising and publishing. "Because of the potential of the Internet as a new medium, our customers need a place in this new space. Now, consumers have the opportunity to go to one place for comprehensive, up-to-date yellow pages information supported by four of the publishers in the industry. It is a very powerful tool for users and advertisers."

The At Hand Network offers millions of nationwide business listings and more than 225,000 enhanced local merchant records, the companies said.

The At Hand Network is designed to feature a dual search screen interface that offers faster business search capabilities and allows consumers to enter their selection criteria directly on the At Hand Home Page. Search results will be provided directly by the Web site operated by the online directory publisher serving the specific city, state or region. Previously, consumers were directed to select a state from a U.S. map and were linked to the appropriate yellow pages Web site to conduct their search.

Listings for businesses located outside of the regions covered directly by the four online directory companies will be provided by a nationwide database of business listings. Searches for businesses in these states will be conducted through the Web sites operated by Ameritech, SBC Communications and U S WEST on a rotating basis.