Innovative success in the web’s toughest industry

Challenge

dLook approached Alliance seven years ago with the vision of competing with the then popular Yellow Pages online. Our first challenge was to build a competing business directory capable of running complex searches across a national database of Australia’s 1.4 million businesses.

Following a successful launch, a steady flow of new customers and subsequent capital raising, the industry declined; with each of dLook’s main competitors – Yellow Pages, True Local and Hot Frog – either folding or struggling to survive.

Approach

Our initial challenges in creating the dLook business directory were primarily technical. Performing complex searches across data sets with millions of records in under two seconds (the acceptable response time) required significant engineering skill.

High search speeds were achieved through a combination of analysing and optimising SQL query paths within the open source database Postgre SQL and by placing the entire operational database in server memory.

The decline of the directory industry forced a fundamental strategic rethink, and the directory technology was repurposed and extended to allow the same workflows to produce a network of niche directories as well as stand alone small business websites that can be sold at premium prices.

Results

While its former competitors struggle to stay open, dLook continues to thrive and is delivering an extended new suite of services to its small business base.

www.dLook.com.au