The Number 118 118 is to take on Web search giants such as Google by launching its own branded search service.
The company soft-launched its search engine at the end of last year at 118118.com, with an emphasis on fun and viral searches. However, it is understood that chief executive Chris Moss is eager to broaden the service and establish it as a mainstream search engine.
Moss told Marketing (at Brand Republic) that 118 118 would use its position as the second-biggest directory enquiries operator behind BT to offer specific search services online, including localised and personalised searches.
118 118 is considering running an ad campaign to promote the search engine. This is expected to feature the two runners who have featured in all its advertising since its launch in 2002.
The shift into online search comes as 118 118 prepares to expand its European business to take advantage of the deregulation of the directory enquiries market in France and Italy. It is also looking to expand its UK telephone-based services to find alternative revenue streams.
UKFast is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.