|Telecom History in France - France Telecom slow to understand arriving Internet|
France Telecom´s rising Internet activities are reorganised
and in a french version
Honestly would you think about going
to the Zoom Pages.com
or to the Pages Zoom.com ?
The name "Pages Zoom" doesn´t seam to be the best.
All over the World Telephone Directories are called
White Pages and Yellow Pages
it is an International Standard which came up
in the US over 120 years ago ...
Some non english speaking countries
use the English term Yellow Pages
others a translation into their respective language:
French = Pages Blanches / Pages Jaunes
Spanish = Paginas Blancas / Paginas Amarillas
Italian = Pagine Bianche / Pagine Gialle
German = Weisse Seiten / Gelbe Seiten
So the Wanadoo people decide
to rebrand their Directory from Pages Zoom.com
to Pages Jaunes.com
There is only one problem
a lot of time has been lost
between 1996 and 1998
... very valuable time in what concerns
the registration of great Internet Domains.
While the first Internet Domain was registered in 1985
it took about a decade for companies to realise
that they could register domains,
mostly US Technology Firms were among the early birds
but in 1995 /1995 the very good .com names
go very quickly
... fo a couple of dollars anybody can register
whatever name he wants followed by .com
And when Wanadoo wants to register
pagesjaunes.com in 1998
the big surprise ...
the domain pagesjaunes.com
is already registered ... since april 9 1996
It is the Internet pioneer Jean Noel Frydman from Miami,
editor of yellow pages for french speaking people in the US,
who owns the domain.
The marketing people from Wanadoo
are 2 years late,
much too late
by the Internet pioneer Alex Algard from Seattle,
a student that build and still owns
America´s best Internet Telephone Directory.
See the Whitepages.com timeline.
by 3 friends from from Los Angeles,
Dane Madsen, Bill Povodonra and Roland Oister.
In fact the name had already been registered before
but the first owner forgot to pay the domain renewal charges.
In November 2004 SBC and Bell South (both later AT&T)
bought the website.
See the Yellowpages.com story.
April 12 1998 France Telecom
registers the domain pagesblanches.com.
In july 1998 Wanadoo completes negociations with Havas
to buy all remaining shares of ODA (Office d´annonces in charge
of selling advertising in French phonebooks).
France Telecom has no difficulties to register the .fr domain
as registering .fr domains is very difficult and restricted
(until mai 11 2004)
november 25 1998 is registered pagesjaunes.fr
and december 30 1998 pagesblanches.fr
not clear if pageszoom.fr was ever registered
but oda.fr was at a very early time
... january 1 1995.
The rebranded Pagesjaunes.fr Directory goes online in 1999
It is also the company name
ODA which gets rebranded to Pages Jaunes
The new company is integrated into Wanadoo
which enters the French stockmarket july 18 2000.
The only problem is the domain pagesjaunes.com
But the management of ODA / Pages Jaunes in Sevres
is too proud to buy the name
- instead he try everything to get it for free
via their lawyers.
Fights over .com internet domains are handled by
the Internet Arbitration and Mediation center
at WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization
(which is like the
The Case N°D 2000-0489
is decided by 3 panelists
Francois Dessemontet, Clive Torne and Christian Andre Le Stanc
The domain pagesjaunes.com
was defended by the famous trademark lawyer Andre Bertrand,
like his French compatriots Corinne Fajgenbaum
or Isabelle Prévost Desprèz,
a kind of an icon in the world of law.
Jean Noel Frydman can keep the domain pagesjaunes.com
Some months earlier January 2000 ...
in an Internet Cafe in the center of Paris
called Cybercafe de Paris.
A computer illiterate,
expatriate French housewife,
Brigitte von Boch
and wants to know if it is possible to use Internet
to find phone numbers,
in particular phone numbers from France.
She has had all her life difficulties to access
the French "Renseignements Telephoniques"
... as the number 12 was only accessible from inside France.
She is from the same generation as her compatriote,
the famous BB.
Sitting in front of a compture for the first time
she tries everything what seams logic to her:
Annuaire de Telephone.com
Annuaire de la France.com
Phonebook of France.com
Numero de Telephone.com
but nothing works ...
In fact she did not know the expressions
Wanadoo, Pages Zoom, Voila.
She did not even know that
next to .com
each country has it´s local Internet code
like .fr for France.
After hopeless explanations
about the "special French" Logic of the Internet
the Internet Cafe ends up
registring all the domain names
(exept Pagesjaunes.com ... already owned by Jean Noel Frydman)
and suddenly was born the
a worldwide portal for telephone directories ...
Also nobody at the old France Telecom
ever thinks of "English Thinking" People,
see birth of Whitepages.fr in may 2004.