192.com

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192.com
Type Private limited company
Industry Directory
Genre Directory
Fate Operating
Predecessors iCD publishing
Founded London (1997)
Founders Alastair Crawford
Headquarters London, Fulham, UK
Area served UK
Key people Managing Director - Keith Marsden;[1] Bryan Foley - Financial Director; Dominic Blackburn - Product Director.
Products People search, Business directory, Property Prices, Maps
Owners Alastair Crawford, majority shareholder & other investors
Employees 35 [2]

192.com Limited is a British company that publishes an online directory as well as information contained within the public domain for the UK, based in London.

The company provides online directory enquiries and competes with BT, Google Local, Yelp and the Yell Group (the holding company now known as hibu, as of 2012 [3] ) or the directory enquiry market. It is the market leader DQ for finding people.[4]

192.com contains circa 700 million residential and business records. Of these records, 200 million come from the 2002-2013 edited Electoral Rolls, though some of these are duplicate records, 28 million people were on the edited Electoral Roll in 2013. 192.com’s other records come from Companies House Director Reports, the Land Registry, and Births Deaths and Marriages Data for England] and Wales. 192.com also publishes a directory of UK businesses, providing company credit reports, financial statements, employee numbers, current and previous directors, web mentions and county court judgements. Registered users can also add details to any business listings using User Generated Content of non-limited companies in addition to limited companies.

History[edit]

Founded in 1997 by Alastair Crawford, 192.com Limited evolved from a CD-ROM product called UK Info Disk,[5] the best selling non-game CD-ROM product of its time. 192.com publishes the Edited Electoral Roll in electronic media, previously the roll had been available for consultation only in public libraries and town halls. The company offered an alternative to British Telecom's previous monopoly of telephone directory enquiries.[1]. There were a number of lawsuits related to this online challenge.

During the dotcom bubble in 2001[6] icd publishing was valued at £100 million.

In February 2011 icd publishing Ltd split into half, the two units were named, 192.com Ltd and 192business Ltd. On 1 March 2012, half of the company 192business Ltd was sold to Experian Plc [7] for an undisclosed sum, though the gross value of the assets were £9 million [8]

Products[edit]

In 2010 192.com Limited launched i192 an app for iPhones supplying free directory enquiries and 192.com's business and residential listings for mobile web users, however some users found the app difficult to use.

In 2012, the company released a new product 'See Who's Looking for You'.

In 2013, the company released a new product 'Background Reports' which includes edited electoral roll information, any county court judgements, mortality data, land registry details and an insolvency report.

Reunions[edit]

The company has helped reunite missing family and friends, for example the Salvation Army use 192.com to reunite an estimate 3,000 families each year. However in September 2011, 192.com's competitor won the Salvation Army account.[9] In 2010 it featured in the BBC 1 series Trackers as a tool for tracing lost family and forgotten financial assets.

Customer Concerns[edit]

How many users find this website useful is questionable.[10] The Review Centre has over 70 reviews (none of them positive) leaving 192.com with an average rating of one star. The main complaint being based on lack of transparency demonstrated by 192.com as to what data is available for specific records leading to customers paying for credits to view a record only to find the information they were expecting is not there. Other complaints include paid for credits being used during searches that would be free if not logged in, poor customer service and credits expiring within 30 days if not used.

Privacy Concerns[edit]

Some people find the depth of detail an invasion of privacy, with information being seen using search engines.[11][12][13] These have the option of deleting their details. There is an opt-out on the electoral roll registration paper's, or on 192.com’s website by filling out a 'C01' form which can be downloaded and sent online. 192.com is licensed and regulated by the Data Protection Act.

Literature[edit]

192.com is mentioned in Dick Francis's novel Shattered where the protagonist uses 192.com to trace a missing person.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "investing.businessweek.com/research/"
  2. ^ "ukdata.com/company/07180348/192.COM-LTD". February 2014.
  3. ^ Gideon Spanier (2012-05-23). "Yell surprises with change of name to Hibu". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  4. ^ "192.com Site Info". Alexa.com. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  5. ^ "(UK) - Home". i-CD Publishing. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  6. ^ Beattie, Andrew. "Market Crashes: The Dotcom Crash". Investopedia. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  7. ^ "cite web|url=http://www.experian.co.uk/identity-and-fraud/news-and-events/experian-completes-acquisition-of-192business.html |title=Experian completes acquisition of 192business |publisher=Experian.co.uk |date= accessdate=2013-02-12"
  8. ^ "cite news|url=http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/experian-buys-fraud-expert |title=Experian buys fraud expert |publisher=City A.M. |date=2011-11-29 accessdate=2013-02-12"
  9. ^ "PRLog Press Releases" 28 Sept 2011 http://www.prlog.org/11676832-tracesmart-and-the-salvation-army-team-up-to-help-reunite-families.html
  10. ^ "Reviews on reviewcentre.com November 2013"
  11. ^ "28 posts on digitalspy.co.uk from 5-11-2010"
  12. ^ "which.co.uk conversation 61 comments from 20 October 2011"
  13. ^ "73 signatures from Oct 18, 2010 'Shutdown 192.com' petition on gopetition.com"

Further Reading[edit]

“The electoral register and the ‘open register’” (https://www.gov.uk/electoral-register/overview) “Data protection” (https://www.gov.uk/data-protection/the-data-protection-act)