Business software vendor MYOB and Google have offered free web site hosting, domain name registration and web advertising to Australian small businesses in a move that could prove a challenge to Sensis' YellowPages.
The partners planned to provide 50,000 Australian small businesses with one year of simple web site hosting using MYOB's Atlas web builder, two years of .com.au domain registration and $75 worth of Google AdWords at no charge.
Businesses were required to have a registered ABN (Australian Business Number) to be eligible for the offer, available at gettingbusinessonline.com.au
At the expiry of the offer, customers would pay $5 per month on a pay-as-you-go basis for the website, and $30 per 24 months for the domain name.
MYOB chief executive Tim Reed told iTnews the websites would be hosted in Australia by a third party partner, but declined to disclose where for reasons of security.
UPDATE 03/03/11 - MYOB chief executive Tim Reed has apologised for this error. The sites will be hosted in Singapore.
Pending the venture's success, MYOB would have built a substantial database of Australian businesses. Reed said MYOB would own that database of small business customers.
UPDATE 03/03/11 - MYOB chief executive Tim Reed has apologised for this error. Google will also have access to this data.
The de facto online listing service for Australian businesses today is Sensis, owned by Telstra and license holder for 'Yellow Pages'.
A spokesperson for Sensis said it would continue to stave off competition as it offered a "one stop shop" for small businesses - both online and offline (phone book) listings and apps for iPhone and Android.
Sensis is increasingly using product bundles - using these listing resources and other Telstra services - to retain its dominant position in the small business market.
A February 2011 Business Index survey undertaken by Sensis showed that one in three (33 percent) of Australian small and medium-sized enterprises planned to "increase their digital presence" in the year ahead.
Sensis is also a strong partner of Google as an AdWords reseller.