Email Listings Launch Party

The core team for the Email Listings project enjoyed some well-deserved celebration time at the Garage last Friday.   Dave bowled the game of his life, while Keela, Ben and Greg gave Coomer a hard time for his Flock of Seagulls hair.  He countered by making us all feel like grandparents when he genuinely had never heard of the band.  Gene snapped some great pics – a few of which are below.  Congratulations to team Magellan!

Devin with Ben in the background    Professional form  

Steve breaking the rules - with a smile!

Make FREE Calls On Your Cell Phone

That’s quite a headline, but how does it work?  Today we launched a new Carrier Lookup service that gives you the ability to look up the cell phone carrier of your friends, family, and colleagues.   Why does that result in “free” calls?  Well, it depends on your plan, but most major mobile carriers include unlimited “in-network” or “mobile-to-mobile” calling in most of their plans.*  At WhitePages you can now discreetly look up the carrier for a given phone number and determine whether or not that person is in your network.

Increasingly, consumers are choosing to cut their home wireline connections in favor of being wireless-only.  This helps save money – according to a recent Nielsen report – about $33 per month.   As Saul Hansell pointed out in the New York Times Bits blog yesterday, one of the reasons for the savings is the free calling to other users of your cellphone company.

Our new mobile lookup service – easily accessible at lets you see which of your friends is in your current cell phone carrier network, or if you’re shopping around, determine the carrier to which you should switch.

We now have two important services for cell-phone only households:
1) Ability to
list your mobile phone – including privacy controls that allow you to hide the number.  This makes you reachable just like a landline white pages listing.  Why list yourself?  Think about it – wouldn’t you want to be reachable if someone found your wallet or if your neighbors saw someone questionable trying to get into your back door?

2) Our new cell phone provider look up gives you an easy way to save money on your cell phone bill by maximizing the value of unlimited in-network calling.*

*Some important notes (to lower the blood pressure of our lawyers): please make sure that you check your cell phone plan to ensure that it includes unlimited in-network calling; it won’t be free otherwise.   Also, there may be some rare cases, e.g. your buddy is in the process of porting (transferring) their number to another carrier, where our lookup may be inaccurate.  But for the most part, we hope that this will provide you with a simple tool to lower your bills.  We know that times are tough right now, so we’re glad to help – even in a small way.

Last but not least, please be assured that we won’t misuse the names and phone numbers you look up by spamming them with unsolicited phone calls or text messages to use our service – that’s not the way we do business.

We hope that you enjoy our new feature – let us know what you think.

Look up your friends to see who shares your cell phone network

Goodbye Telco Listings

No, we’re not abandoning our core business of providing the most comprehensive free online people search (including of course, traditional white pages listings).  But we are moving away from a vestige of the old telco model – viewing people as landline households rather than, well, people.

We’ve released two somewhat subtle but important changes to the web site this week that lay the foundation for a person-centered search model.

First and foremost, we have restructured our results so that you now see the person for whom you are searching rather than multiple people in the same household who are often listed together in a traditional phone book.  So searching for “Keela Robison” now results in my individual listing rather than “Keela and David Robison”.  I love my husband dearly, but we are in fact two separate people and now the WhitePages service reflects that.  At the same time, we’ve retained the information about the other adults in the household to aid in identifying the correct result.  My name is quite unique, however names of other household members would be helpful in determining which John Smith you are looking for.

Individual listing

The second is a graphical change in our home / work / cell phone icons that takes us a small step closer to enabling our customers to combine their listings so that they appear as a single individual with multiple contact types.  More on that to come…

New home and work icons

In addition to the above, this week’s release also included over a dozen smaller enhancements and bug fixes, making it a fairly substantive release.  We hope that you enjoy the improvements.  Please let us know how we’re doing: post your comment below.