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Saturday, 15 March 2008 09:02

Sensis response to poor result claims: try us again and be surprised

Sensis is defending its search capabilities after recent criticism, following up from yesterday’s Sensis story which unveiled the development of a Sensis iPhone search application, amid speculation Telstra will launch the Australian iPhone.

Danielle Horan, the Corporate Affairs Advisor at Sensis, has hit back at claims of poor search results from the Yellow and White Pages directories, following revelations Sensis is developing an iPhone search application.

While acknowledging poor results in the past, Horan says that the Sensis platforms have now been “significantly upgraded and re-platformed”, with the result being a much more “intuitive experience”.

Horan said that users “don’t have to be so perfect with what you’re looking for anymore, it’s now a much more intuitive search experience. We invite people to use it, try it out, and we welcome – and want – your feedback.”

Claiming that almost 4 million people use the White Pages online each month, winning the Hitwise award for the best online directory, Horan says that “People compare the Yellow and White Pages with Google, but both are fundamentally different applications – Yellow and White Pages are directories, not a search engine.”

“That said”, Horan continued, “I’m not suggesting that you’ll get inaccurate results from our sites. We have been working hard to continually upgrade all our search/directory properties, and especially in recent months, we have made enormous strides in advancing the quality of our results.”

Emphasising the work Sensis has put into improvements, Horan said: “I invite everyone to try the new Yellow and White Pages as it has been significantly upgraded and enhanced. I acknowledge there has been much criticism in the press of late, but you need to see our new sites for yourself to see that there has been massive improvement – and I think users will be pleasantly surprised.”

On the topic of the WhereIs mapping search tool, Horan disclosed that: “In May, we’ll be unveiling our brand new WhereIs site, which has also seen huge changes and has many new features” – with WhereIs currently generating 2.8 million unique users per month, a figure Horan expects to grow once users realise “it’s been massively upgraded, too”.

Sensis say they’ve done lots of user experience testing – please read onto page 2.

Horain explained that “All of these changes have come thanks to intensive user research and testing, conducted over the last six months.”

On the topic of a Sensis iPhone search application, Horan denied that this automatically meant Telstra would be the exclusive Australian iPhone telco, and went to pains to explain that Sensis “wants to be at the forefront of search in Australia, on any platform and any device, with the iPhone clearly one of the platforms we’re targeting, no matter who Apple’s telco partner will be”.

So, Sensis say they’ve made big changes to their Yellow and White Pages applications. Have you tried them out? What do you think, can you see the improvements? Or are they dreamin’? Please let us know.

Disclosure: Alex Zaharov-Reutt is attending the Saturday qualifying round of the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne as a guest of Sensis, which is why he has been able to interview Sensis' Danielle Horan, Corporate Affairs Advisor on a Saturday, over yesterday's Sensis/iPhone story which had reports of user dissatisfaction with the Sensis search properities, with Alex wanting to know what Sensis' response to these claims would be.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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