Add Your Cell Number

We just did a beta launch of a new feature on our site that allows you to add your cell number to our site. We are doing this strictly on an opt-in basis, because that is what our users have told us to do. Why add your cell phone? If you’re like me, to be easily reachable by others that you care about. In fact, although both my home and cell phones are listed on WhitePages.com, I prefer that people call me on my cell. After all, I carry it with me everywhere and I turn it off when I don’t want to be disturbed (unlike my home landline phone). It’s also good to know that I can be easily contacted in the event of an emergency. For others, such as service professionals for example, there might be business reasons to add their cell phone.

mobile listing

For this first beta release, we’re keeping the service very rudimentary. Although the service seems very simple on the surface, this is a very big milestone for us at WhitePages.com because it marks the first time ever that…
– we have added cell numbers to our site
– we have allowed our users to contribute listings
– we have configured our database to allow real-time updates on a listing-by-listing basis

Lots of product development and engineering heroics have gone into making that possible. Woo hoo!

Now that we have our foundation built, please stay tuned over the coming months, as we look forward to layering lots of additional (and useful!) services on top of the base offering.

Searching for People Search

We were delighted to see how high “white pages” and “people search” rank among the top 25 non-branded/non-adult search terms , recently compiled by Compete, especially given that we bought PeopleSearch.com just a few months ago. And we even beat “britney spears” at #18! We typically ranks lower among all keywords if you include branded terms (e.g. myspace, yahoo, etc.) but I haven’t seen any third party cut the list like this before. Based on other data we have access to, e.g. Google Trends, we actually know of some inaccuracies in Compete’s top list, but the bigger point is that our services are clearly in high demand as measured by web search queries. As we continue to improve on our services and as more people find us, hopefully they can focus more on just people search, rather than searching for people search!

Top Search Terms – Jan 2008
1. dictionary
2. heath ledger
3. white pages
4. weather
5. lyrics
6. yellow pages
7. people search
8. irs
9. fafsa
10. cloverfield

Full top 25 list at Compete.

Now with 80% People Coverage!

Yes, that’s right. With 180 million people in our database, we now cover 80% of all US adults. Given that we started 2007 at just 40% coverage, which is where the rest of the directory assistance industry is at, the team here feels real good about ending the year with this milestone. After all, we have doubled the size of our database in just under a year.

What’s the significance of this? On most other directory assistance-like websites (as well as calling 411 directory assistance), you have approximately a 4-out-of-10 chance to find the person you’re searching for, whereas on our websites, you now have an 8-out-of-10 chance. That’s quite a different user experience. Looking at this milestone more broadly, this marks the first time ever that you can find 80% of the US adult population in a free, easily accessible service. Yet another perspective… compare us to some of the other leading online repositories of people data:

people search database size

To be fair, this chart is not an apples-to-apples comparison, nor do we want want it to be an apples-to-apples comparison. After all, we are quite happy to differentiate in the sense that:

  1. We provide instant gratification to our users who seek contact info (rather than first having to become “friends”).
  2. We are free (unlike pay-per-lookup or subscription-based sites).
  3. We have better coverage (as is evident from the chart above after all). Why? We aggregate data from multiple sources, including offline.
  4. We serve a simple use case: finding and connecting people with each other. No fuss.

What do you think of the various improvements we have launched recently?

Improved Search Forms

And here is another website enhancement launching in time for the Holidays… We just added new persistent search forms at the top of all our search results (as well as the “not found” pages). This will make it easier for you modify your searches on our site, which will benefit all users (in particular those of you who are power users). We have also improved the user interface for our search suggestions, which you’ll notice throughout the website as you conduct searches.

How do you like these improvements? What can we do better for you?

persistent search forms

Makeover for WhitePages.com

We have several exciting launches in store during the coming month just in time for the Holidays. Yesterday evening, we kicked things off with a complete makeover of WhitePages.com. As you can see, the website is a whole lot leaner and cleaner in appearance. But the site also works a heck of a lot better. For example, work listing and age info stands out visually much better now than before (screenshot below). And it’s easier to tell apart home listings from work listings with the new color coded icons.

multi results listing

Our “Listing Details” page now features well-integrated maps that appear right on that page without unnecessary additional clicks to view the maps.

listing detail page

How do you like these improvements? What can we do better for you?