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Your data on Yellowpages.com and other online directories.

I recently had the opportunity to offer my services as an expert witness in a case involving, of all things, a business listing on Yellowpages.com.  In this case, the question was about “If the defendant sold his business, why is there a listing with the old phone number on Yellowpages.com?”

Another client called up and was concerned because she found that her personal address and phone number were on Yellowpages.com and a few other directory websites.

How does this happen, and what can you do about it?

How did your info end up on yellowpages.com?

Yellowpages.com tends to draw its data from any other data sources it can find. Here’s one example I’ve seen: a business license was issued and published on a county website. Not long after, a listing for that business appeared on yellowpages.com even though the address associated with the license was a home address rather than the business address.

It’s not uncommon for other web directories to take their data from yellowpages.com as a “trusted source” and use it on their own websites.

What can you do about wrong information?

Unfortunately, the only thing you can really do is to “claim” the listing on the site, and correct it.  For active sites like yellowpages.com, that’s pretty straightforward.  For older or out-of-date websites, sometimes it’s impossible.

Don’t be afraid to claim your business wherever you see it and correct the information. While google and other search engines are getting better and better at recognizing that mistakes happen and it doesn’t mean the business has moved or changed, it’s still best to have an accurate representation of yourself across sites.