The team here at WhitePages is always dreaming up new ways to build useful products on top of North America’s most comprehensive database of contact information for people and businesses Just this year, we launched a number of new services that, for example, allow users the ability to see how many people are named “Jason Milstead” in the United States, to better claim & edit personal address and phone number information, and to see who is calling and texting with our Current Caller ID android app.Continue Reading...
As much as Internet commerce is fueling business growth, it is a phone call that still drives the significant volume of business in our economy. There are over 25 million businesses in the United States and every day, thousands are choosing to set up a new business phone number or transition their existing phone numbers to mobile or VoIP. These are smarter, cheaper and more flexible options than a landline and allow a growing business to add mobile lines and phones as needed. However, there has been one major concern that has held many businesses back from completely “cutting the cord” to a mobile future—the fact that mobile business numbers have no way of accurately being published in phone books, 411 Directory Assistance or on popular websites, without significant costs for Wireless companies and a time intensive process for business owners. That is, until now.
Today, WhitePages and Sprint have partnered to offer the first online Wireless Business Directory. Now Sprint Wireless business customers can safely opt-in to have their mobile business information published on WhitePages by going to sprint.whitepages.com to create a basic listing (for free) or can customize with a Premium listing (for an annual fee). The business owner controls all of the business information presented on their Verified Listing and consumers are provided with the most current and accurate information available online for Wireless businesses. To support this industry-first initiative, WhitePages and Sprint have built a solution that:
- Checks that the business owner is indeed the business owner by texting a SMS pin code to the business owner’s Sprint mobile phone, requiring the business to input the pin to create a WhitePages Verified Listing
- Allows the business to opt-in to publishing their Wireless phone number on WhitePages’ sites and through 411 Directory Assistance
- Offers over 20 custom information fields to showcase a business’ logo, description, photos, videos, hours of operation and more
- Provides featured placement in WhitePages business search results for business name and category searches
The WhitePages Business Search team is absolutely thrilled to be able to offer this solution for Sprint mobile businesses! We look forward to continuing to innovate through new products, services and partnerships to help accomplish our ultimate goal of connecting even more consumers and businesses together in the most accurate and convenient way.
The Semantic Web was first coined by Tim Berners-Lee in 1999 as the way the Web will transform from being a collection of individual documents (HTML pages) into a universal medium for the exchange of data. An information world where machines “become capable of analyzing all of the information on the Web – the content, links and transactions between people and computers” to improve our daily lives.
That was over 11 years ago and the fact is that we haven’t moved very far (yet). Regardless of whether or not you use Google, Bing or another popular search engine, you still likely spend a great deal of time following basic links between websites searching for information, and rarely access specific information in a single interface sourced from multiple locations.
Desktop applications offer direct access to music, photos, documents and other structured content in silos; however, it will be a collection of rich internet applications in the future that allow all of this information to flow together. This is the promise of Web 3.0 which will first require all publishers of the Web to ensure their content can be universally accessed in a structured and freely open way.
As the new web browser wars heat up (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome), a wave of innovation will occur that transforms our most popular web sites into immersive experiences housed within powerful browsers. The future of web search and browsing will more closely resemble mobile applications of tomorrow than search engines of today.
These browsers will know where you are, where you have been and likely where you are going – both physically and virtually – to make your current web experience more personal and connected.
The key to making this happen is that the content across the web will start to include valuable metadata descriptors such as location, author, date, type, subject, person, place, product, … to weave together a smarter, and more tailored web browsing experience based on standard semantic formats. (See OpenGraph and RDFa formats)
Another benefit of using a semantic format is the growing attention that search engines like Google, Bing and Facebook (social engine) are paying to this structured data. It remains to be seen how each of these major sites will leverage semantic data. Bing is seeing success against Google by providing richer content directly within their results, like movie times, flight schedules, social links, videos and image galleries.
Just yesterday, comScore reported that Bing’s share of U.S. searches grew by 50% over the past year and many sites are reporting that visitors referred from Bing are more active and have lower bounce rates than Google visitors. We are seeing similar trends on WhitePages.com. Here is a breakdown of key visitor metrics from Google and Bing organic referrals:
The bounce rate of Google referrals are nearly 3x higher than Bing and the other metrics favor Bing users over Google with higher usage (pages/visit) and repeat behavior (% of new visits). It is difficult to pin point what is driving this trend. One theory is that Bing presents information from WhitePages in a more relevant way which leads to a more informed visitor to our site. It is an interesting search trend that we will continue to monitor and optimize our site for the next wave of SEO and semantic markup.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jason_Milstead