Everything Sensis touches turns to…

I read the other day that Telstra is betting on Sensis as a way to increase their profits by becoming a “media” company. I nearly spat my coffee out.

I can find the contact details to a business or restaurant quicker using Google than I can using the Yellow or White pages websites.

I tried to list something on the Trading Post website, only to come up against an error in the site that stopped me from becoming a customer. I reported the issue. Three weeks later the issue had not been fixed and I had to phone the order in.

Directions on WhereIs are simply broken – don’t trust the times they give. And when I access the site using Camino I get a big “your browser isn’t supported” – Camino uses the Firefox rendering engine, so is virtually identical. But when I get into the site – because they use graphic buttons, I get two whopping great blank buttons beneath the address form. I’ve learnt from trial and error which one to click, but this is a simple, simple, simple thing that they could fix with a tiny change to the site.

But what prompted me to post this? The recent “upgrade” to CitySearch.

Gone are the simple tabs and navigation that have worked so well (instead replaced with some hybrid that places more importance on the weather than usability). Gone are the clean URLs (which replace this “http://sydney.citysearch.com.au/section/film” with “http://sydney.citysearch.com.au/servlet/Satellite?c=Page&cid=1119945819951&city=sydney&cityName=Sydney&pageid=1119945819951&pagename=CitySearch%2FPage%2FCSWLayout&vertical=film&verticalName=Film”) – not only that but they didn’t even have the foresight to remap the old URLs to the new crapness. Gone is the good performance (it runs as slow as a dog at home – and my connection isn’t that slow). Now when I go to the film section it asks me to install a plugin (and I have most common plugins already installed, so that’s saying something). And gone is the simple and easy way to find session times and cinemas.

I wouldn’t be so negative if I actually saw some value in the changes that they’ve made to the site – but I honestly can’t see how it’s better than the old one, so the net impression I get is that it’s a step backwards.

So I wouldn’t be counting on Sensis to be Telstra’s saving grace somehow…