This year is off to a great start! After breaking an all-time traffic record in December, I am now happy to announce that for the first time ever:
If our site traffic is any indication, the traditional paper holiday card trend appears to be back with a vengeance! This whole week, both our web and mobile traffic broke records in terms of usage. On Monday, the busiest shipping day of the whole year, we saw nearly 2.5 million unique website visitors and nearly 1 million unique mobile visitors, most of whom were searching for addresses of family and friends.
And for you procrastinators, don’t forget about sending a New Year Card in lieu of the Holiday Card. After all, the US Postal Service expects to handle about 16.5 billion cards, letters and packagesbetween Thanksgiving and the end of the year. There’s certainly still time to get your send on!
Despite the fact that most Americans say it’s important to look out for each other’s safety, you might not be surprised to hear that most of us are actually not all that tight with our neighbors. That said, even I was surprised to learn the results of a recent survey that we ran together with Harris Interactive. It turns out that we know our neighbors’ cars (47% of us can identify them) better than our actual neighbors (only 41% know most of their first names). And more of us (27%) know our neighbors’ pets than our neighbors’ kids (24%).
So to help solve this issue, we are now launching WhitePages Neighbors, which allows you to explore your neighborhood and connect with the people who live in it. Whether you need help during an emergency, organizing a neighborhood watch committee, or just simply need to remind yourself of your neighbor’s name, all of your neighbors’ contact information is now at your fingertips for free.
We’re excited about this service, so we figured that we ought to throw a party to launch it. A giant party. Today, we’re proud to announce that we have partnered with the National Night Out (NNO) to help neighbors coordinate block parties all over the U.S. for the 28th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2. We look forward providing a helping hand to National Night Out in organizing the 15,000 events that they estimate 37 million Americans will participate in this year. Using our new Neighbors service, you can easily organize a block party just by clicking on your neighbors’ homes in a web browser based map, and then we’ll take care of the rest, including sending out the postcard invitations via First Class mail for free.
Watch the demo video:
The past month has been a great one for a cause that we at WhitePages have been pushing hard for over the past year – the movement to support “opt-in” regulation that would require consumers to physically request a printed white pages phone book in order to receive one.
While most state laws still require phone companies to deliver the white pages phone book to every landline subscriber, just last week, Pennsylvania regulators agreed to allow Verizon to stop phone-book distribution next year. Earlier this week, Verizon petitioned to law-makers for the same thing in the state of Virginia. Both of these events follow similar success from Verizon in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Delaware.
Proposed regulation like what Verizon seems to be pushing for state-by-state further supports what we have been advocating for with our Ban the Phonebook initiative that launched late last year. Since then, we have garnered 40k+ signatures supporting the opt-in movement and have generated more than 8,700 very vocal and passionate Facebook fans nationwide!
This is very clearly a cause that people feel very strongly about and it’s great to know that our voices are being heard!
The latest consumer confidence index slipped back this week to its lowest level in a year. The economic recovery will take some time, and we all still need to continue to batten down the hatches. That said, I am willing to bet that over the past year, each and every consumer has spent some money on unnecessary fees that could have been avoided.
Here at WhitePages, we refer to these unnecessary fees as “directory assistance” or “411 calls”, on which consumers and businesses spent a massive $6.5 billion in 2009 – even more significant due to the unforgiving economic climate. An average of $1.26 was spent per directory assistance call made from a traditional landline, with some calls costing as much as $2.99. Cell phone users spent even more, paying an average fee of around $1.73 per call. Sure, one 411 call may be affordable, but these calls quickly add up, most of the time unbeknownst to the consumer who doesn’t see the charges until paying the phone bill at the end of the month.
What many people don’t realize is that directory assistance – a handy way to locate people, businesses and directions – does not have to cost even a penny. Next time you go to dial 411, consider the following free options:
- People Search: Go online and search WhitePages.com or one of its sister sites like 411.com or switchboard.com. With sites like these, you can easily search by a person’s name or address and on WhitePages you can even find social network profile information if you wish to get in contact via those channels.
- Business Search: If you have a web-enabled browser on your phone, try WhitePages’ m.whitepages.com mobile services to look up the number and easily add it to your phone contact list for future reference. Or if you prefer a voice-based directory, consider dialing 1-800-FREE-411 or 1-800-GOOG-411, both of which offer directory assistance free of charge although with 1-800-FREE-411, you may be required to listen to an advertisement first.
- Directions: If you have an iPhone, click on the pre-installed Maps and Compass icon for directions. If you have an Android, try the Google Maps Navigation service which offers turn-by-turn GPS navigation with voice guidance. If you have a smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry), use the WhitePages app for robust maps, driving directions and click-to-call functionality.
I am very proud to say that by taking advantage of WhitePages’ free online and mobile services, consumers actually saved around $3 billion in 2009, despite spending $6.5 billion on directory assistance. In line with the recent consumer confidence figures, I encourage everyone to approach the rest of 2010 with a renewed outlook on saving. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s the true value of a dollar, or a $1.26 or $1.73 or $6.5 billion… Well, you get the picture!