Business social network LinkedIn has entered the Yellow Pages market by launching a user recommendation-powered service provider directory. Unlike the Yellow Pages, the service specifically aims at catering a directory of service providers — accountants, house cleaners, web designers, lawyers, etc — through the basis of collecting recommendations and endorsements from your network.
Here’s how it works. You can recommend someone whom you’ve worked with or who has worked for you in the past, and when you need to find someone to do a job for you, use the directory to browse through the listings and see if anyone in your network has recommended someone. LinkedIn simply acts as the middle-man and connects you to hundreds of service providers and people in your network who’ve had experience with them.
This is a great example of an old, out-dated model being integrated with a new, powerful and global medium. Now, instead of finding and opening the Yellow Pages and skimming through what are simply self-advertising and plain service listings — where you’ve no idea what to expect and don’t know where to start — you have something to rely upon.
The idea reminds me of local review services Yelp and Smalltown, which are competing with the Yellow Pages as well and integrate together a similar model (user recommendation/contribution), but both are obviously on a different playing field.