Over the past ten years we have seen an explosion in internet advertising as everyone has jumped into using this fantastic new medium for promoting their product or services. A particular area which has had niche but heavy growth has been that of franchise advertising and there are now hundreds of sites across the globe dedicated to bringing franchise opportunities and franchise information to the masses.
Looking at these franchise directory portals we can see a huge variation in the information they have to offer and we can group these into the following.
Franchise directories – These function and serve solely to display franchise opportunities in a directory format and generally display logos and promotional materials in a categorised format.
Franchise information portals – These tend to go one step further than plain directories and also offer advice and articles to a prospective franchise seekers as well as a categorised list of franchises.
Franchise Resource Portals – These have all of the above features and more, offering franchise advice, franchise articles, dates of franchise exhibitions, reviews, categorised franchise opportunities, franchise news and web 2.0 user interaction.
We can look at the above in a staged way where 1 is a skeleton platform, building up to 3 which is a full bells and whistles platform. When looking at these franchise directory platforms one must remember that the main aim of the site owners is to have paying franchisors list their franchise on them, this is where the money comes from and why the site is in existence. So, you must remember that not necessarily all are ethical franchise directories and are happy to take on world + dog to advertise their franchise.
The trick to finding which an ethical directory is, is to look for what is called “Web 2.0” features. These features would include comment areas under articles, forum areas and general networking areas that you can sign up too. Most franchise directories do not want these features as they know that they will get disgruntled ex-franchisees in there making remarks about the least ethical franchises on their directory but you will find the more ethical directories are happy for people to voice their opinions and happy to boot any less ethical franchises from the directory. Blog areas need to be considered also but in many cases they are there for show and SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes purely to add keyword rich content to the site so if they do have a blog area check for comments on them, if there are none then either the site does not have much traffic or the blog area is still there purely for promotional materials.
In the UK there is only one “ethical” directory and that can be found at The Franchise Shop (see sig below) it offers full web 2.0 services, experts sections and thousands of articles. Making it the UK’s #1 franchise directory. Take a look for yourself to judge what you think, is it just a directory or is is a web 2.0 franchise directory platform?