BT to enter social networking space

BTBT is launching a social network site in an attempt to rival services being launched within the burgeoning online directory sector.

The site is currently in beta format, enabling BT’s new online directory service, BTexchanges.com, to research user behaviour ahead of the official launch later this year.

While BT’s core offering will continue to be about finding business and residential phone numbers, the social networking service will include user reviews such as those previously used on eBay. Customers will also be able to recommend suppliers in their areas once they have used the service.

BTexchanges.com general manager Bruce Abercromby says: “Our directory strategy is moving into online. We are seeing a lot of movement in the online space.”

The move follows the company’s acquisition of online business directory Ufindus last month.

BT, which also owns telephone service 118 500 and The Phone Book, bought Ufindus for £20m on July 9. The classified business directory has a portfolio of three directories – Smile Local, MoreUK and Ufindus – as well as more than 100 niche directories based on individual trades.

The telecoms company also launched a home hub product – a router that allows calls to be made over the internet – last month (MW.co.uk July 11). It was accompanied by a TV campaign that features the BT couple in a “will they or won’t they” break-up story.

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