Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Qurkl – A New Style of Online Business Listings

What is your product or service?

Qurkl – A New Style of Online Business ListingsQurkl is a free online yellow pages site that was started in the fall of 2009. Qurkl is free for businesses to list or edit and free for consumers to search.

Why did you start your company?

Due to my frustration with yellow pages type websites (as a consumer and as a business owner) I decided to start a new business directory site.

As a consumer, when searching online business directories, listings would come up that were not what I was looking for. When looking for a local company, often businesses located no where near me would show up. Or the businesses did not fit the search terms I entered. Many sites only list business willing to sign a paid contract of a year or more so only businesses willing to do so will be listed. The businesses who do not sign a contract either will not be listed or may be difficult to find.

Qurkl – A New Style of Online Business Listings

Beuna Tomalino

As an owner of another business I saw the benefits of listing online but was frustrated with the options. For over a year I paid a major business listing site to be featured at the top of the page. As soon as another business was willing to pay more I was bumped down the page. If I wanted to change anything in my listing I needed to contact a rep who would then (maybe) get the information to someone else to make the changes. Also, I never received one referral from that site and was automatically renewed for another year without my approval. Many sites require a physical address. In my business I go to the client – they do not come to me – so why would I want my street address listed? Many sites have a preselected list of categories and often my business did not fit one of the options. So if I listed with something close I would get the wrong clientele. One site did not even list my city as an option so I would have to choose the nearest large city.

What are a few things that make Qurkl unique?

First of all Qurkl is totally free. Eventually we do plan to add the option of paid ads on the right side which can be purchased for short periods to promote an event, a deal, or just the business. Free ads will always remain on the left side as they are now.

Qurkl – A New Style of Online Business ListingsOn Qurkl, consumers can search for a business by location, name, product or service or a combination. Location search can be by state, zipcode, city and state, or city, state, and zipcode. Ranking of businesses on Qurkl is determined by time of updating. The more recently a business visits their listing to check accuracy or to make changes the closer to the top they will appear. Businesses can choose whatever search terms apply to their business instead of choosing from a list.

What was your inspiration?
Craigslist was a site I have used and liked the simplicity of it. While waiting to for a haircut one day I read an article about Plenty of Fish – a free online dating service I had never heard of the site but found the information exciting and motivating. Here was someone who had begun a free website and was making millions by selling adspace. I could help consumers, businesses, and myself.

One day when talking to my brother, a computer programmer with web design experience, I asked him what he thought of online yellow page type sites. He said he didn’t like them and for similar reasons. I told him my ideas for a new online business listing site and he started on it fairly soon after. So, Qurkl was born.

How was it financed ?

Costs have been buying a domain name, hosting services, business cards, car window stickers, a database (which we ended up not really using), and time.

Domain name: GoDaddy

Hosting: Nearly Free Speech

VistaPrint: business cards and car window stickers

What free online or offline tools do you use?

I have used Social media including







I have also used XtraNormal (free account so far) for creating YouTube videos and Squidoo We are working on a free book to distribute for Kindle.

How many employees do you have?

My brother and I are the only employees at this point.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

In addition to social media, we have spread the word about Qurkl by attending networking events, using free listings on other yellow pages types sites, business cards, car window stickers, Craigslist, and visting businesses in person.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Getting the word out to consumers and businesses. We have had very positive feedback from consumers. Helping small businesses understand the importance of online presence has been a bit harder. I have networked with hundreds of businesses that for some reason do not see the importance of getting found online. Some of those businesses are already listed on Qurkl but may not have the search terms they would choose to be more easily found. My other business is garden coaching. I list my business on as many sites as possible because the more places I am listed the better chance those who need my services will find me. Listing my business in a variety of places may also help with SEO.

Although we have some business listing sites as affiliates I would like more business directories to approach me about an affiliate relationship. Our site could help consumers or business owners find those sites in case they wanted something more or in addition to what we offer.

There are a few more features that I want to add to Qurkl while still keep the site neat and simple to use.

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