Archives For Brand

When the economy crashed almost two years ago, we as a company did what everyone else did and trimmed the fat, which included our snack budget. In looking at what we spent on snacks, one thing that stood out to me was how much we spent on kitchen paper and plastic products for the convenience of our employees. These buggers are expensive!

going green, whitepages.com

It's easy to find ways to go green. (Image courtesy of Atul Tater via Flickr)

Before the budget was cut, we spent more than 3k a year on various and sundry paper cups, bowls, plates and cutlery. I thought to myself, if we purchased a dishwasher and people brought mugs, plates and silverware from home we could not only get our ROI within a year, but we could continue to provide the snacks that the employees were accustomed to having. We would lose a bit of convenience, sure, but we would also reduce the waste that our office generated, significantly.

To me, it was no longer just about saving money, but also about being part of the green revolution at the office! Most of us are conscientious at home but are we as conscientious at the other place we call home for at least 40 hours a week? We’re in Seattle for Pete’s sake, how hard could it be? Well, as it turns out…it’s not that hard.  Here are some examples of things that we did to green-ify our office kitchens:

  • We brought in compost bins.
  • We (of course) already had our recycling in place, but we created a separate bin for those annoying plastic bags we get at the supermarket.
  • We use phosphate free dishwashing detergent.
  • We use reusable plates, cups, bowls and cutlery.
  • We purchase recycled paper towels.

We also founded Ban the Phonebook, an initiative to promote opt-in legislation for the delivery of White Pages phone books. We’re at over 38K supporters, and growing every day! (Find us on Facebook here!)

So far, it seems like everybody here at WhitePages has been on board with this mini green revolution. Sure, I still occasionally have to pick paper towels out of the garbage and put them in our compost bins, but it is great to see how significantly we have reduced our waste. The revolution has to start somewhere, and I’m glad that our office is a part of it!

What does your office do to reduce waste and go green?

PS – Follow us on Twitter @WhitePages

WhitePages is proud to announce DealPop, your source for insider information on the best places to eat, drink and play - right in your neighborhood!

Value Is Much More Than A Good Deal

Today the Seattle Times announced our new service DealPop, which will soon offer great deals at the best places to eat, drink, and have fun — right in your neighborhood.

Sure we are going to offer incredible discounts, but we are also focused on providing a great customer experience and selecting great places for you to enjoy and discover.

We built DealPop as a service and not just a transaction.  Our project is centered and driven on a set of guiding principles that reflect the following core values of  WhitePages:

Connect with Confidence

We are on a mission to help consumers connect with confidence.  Millions of consumers trust WhitePages as the leading web and mobile service for finding both people and businesses.  Searches on our site allow us to see both the most popular and up and coming merchants.  From these findings, our DealPop team, including full-time sales reps that are a part of the local community, select a target list of businesses to provide the best offers for a location.

As a company that is hyper-focused on providing the best experience, we also want to make sure the consumers redeem the deals they purchase.  For those that opt-in to our email list, we will send a reminder.

We also want to make sure the merchant is prepared before a consumer walks into their shop, so our head of sales Cindy Hewitt has put together a comprehensive training and support program to help the merchants provide the best in-store experience.

We’re Entrepreneurial

What first began as a conversation several months ago with our CEO/Founder Alex Algard, Board Director Will Griffith, colleagues Joe Heitzeberg and Jason Milstead is now a new and fully staffed service.  Our board and leadership team funds ideas and then we empower our sprint teams as self-run start-ups to move quickly.  Eliminating the need for executive review allows the team to focus all resources on the quality of service.

Work With The Best People

The DealPop team puts their heads together.

In order to empower a team, you have to hire the right people.   We selected experienced A-team players that know how to create mainstream consumer services and have a deep understanding of both online and local.    The launch team, some of them featured in the picture, (and in order of when they joined the project) includes Troy Morris, Julie Pitt, Elizabeth Rogers, Cindy Hewitt, Travis Pearl, Bobby Cox, Rebecca Carroll, Aaron Oak,  Thaddeus Gunn, Melissa Bower, Roger Rignack, Drew Hackleman.  We have a lot of fun teasing each other and finding humor in every situation.  Julie has a laugh all of downtown Seattle can hear,  while Troy is determined to create a promotion that involves him wearing a Gorilla suit .   If you don’t have a team that enjoys working together, you can’t build something fun for consumers.

Our fantastic marketing maven Liz Powell is already building a great media buzz, following on the footsteps of the recent press she secured for WhitePages in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.   Just check out the Twitter and Foursquare stream of Marie Langhout and you can see she has been to almost every bar, salon, and restaurant in Seattle .  Marie is  building a great presence for us on Twitter and Facebook even before we officially launch.

Finally, Susan Fincher from our HR department stepped in to help with recruiting and developing interviewing process to make sure we continue to hire the best people as we roll out to more markets.

One Mission, One Team:

In addition to a great DealPop team, we have leveraged the talent and resources of WhitePages to launch DealPop.  Our finance head Suki Hayre and legal counsel Jolene Marshall helped us navigate through a lot of details to make payment simple and easy for consumers and merchants.

This was not a secret project at WhitePages, we had several open “brown bags” and reviews to get  feedback and input from our colleagues.  Every sprint team and business unit helped with ideas, advice, and work – and all the critical components needed to provide the best merchant and consumer experience.

We will also leverage the +20m consumer reach of WhitePages and serve new customers because DealPop is built on the same principles we work by at WhitePages to provide consumers and merchants with more than just a good deal.

Interested in learning more? Head to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And don’t forget to sign up at DealPop.com!

Follow me on Twitter: @knakao

Follow WhitePages on Twitter: @WhitePages

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.

Moving the semantic web

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.

Searches on Bing result in lower bounce rates than searches on Google.

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:

Google and Bing referral metrics

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

WhitePages Android app featured in national "Droid Does Apps" campaign

The WhitePages Android app has been a hit – and we’re thrilled that it’s been a Top 10 App in the reference section, especially coming on the heels of news that the Android may even be outselling the iPhone. Not to brag, but we’re proud to have helped identify over 100 million calls to date with our innovative Caller ID feature (available exclusively on Android smartphones) and were even recently featured in Verizon’s nationwide “Droid Does Apps” campaign.

That said, there’s always room for improvement. We have been busy working behind the scenes to shine and polish the new WhitePages and WhitePages with Caller ID Android apps, and while there are too many updates to list them all, here are some of the highlights we’re most excited about:

Search results are ranked by proximity and popularity, and easily saved to your contact list.

-        Business Search:   Finding nearby businesses is now quicker and easier than ever.  Select from a list of popular searches with just a few taps, see your search results ranked with distance from your current location, and see more detailed descriptions for popular businesses.

-        Add to Contacts: A new and improved interface makes it simply to view and modify listing information before saving it to your phone contact list.

-        Call ID: Choose how and where to display a Call ID window during incoming calls.  Customize your Call ID to work with almost any Android phone.

-        Offline access: Use the Recent Results button to see your most recent searches – even if you’re in an elevator or tunnel.   Never be without the numbers you need!

-        Sharing: Send listings to your friends with easy sharing by email or text.

-        More Devices: We’ve made updates to make the app work even better on the many Android devices available like the Droid, Droid Eris, Nexus One, Incredible, CLIQ and Hero as well the original G1 and MyTouch phones.

New icons!

Most importantly (OK not really) – we now have snazzy new icons!
We think V3.2 of the WhitePages Android app is a big step forward, and hope you do, too!

Feel free to share with us how it works for you as well as ideas for continued improvements.   Send a link to your Android phone to download the new app.

Over the past few years, WhitePages has led innovation in many areas of the product development cycle including testing, engineering and marketing.  Some examples include agile product design, viral product design, rebranding, lean startup techniques, multivariate and AB testing, multi-platform mobile development and more.

We’ve benefited greatly from industry leaders and experts we’ve hired from places like Amazon, Expedia, Big Fish Games, Real Networks, LinkedIn, Nuance and Pivotal Lab  – and we regularly hold talks internally to share the knowledge across our teams. We also host talks, inviting groups like the Product Consortium Group and the Ruby on Rails group.

Now, we’re excited to be opening these talks up to everyone:  TechTalks @WhitePages

These talks will be a great place to meet peers in the industry, talk about ideas and participate in relevant learning…and have a beer or two on us after work.

Please join us on Monday, May 17th at 6pm for a presentation by social media experts Neil Patel and Adam Loving called “Twitter Seem Pointless? Learn How To Do It Right”.

Date:  May 17th at 6pm

Location:  WhitePages headquarters, 1301 Fifth Ave, floor 12

Head here to RSVP, or DM/@ us on Twitter: @WhitePages or @jheitzeb .

About Neil Patel:

Neil Patel is the co-founder of 2 Internet companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics.  Through these 2 companies he has helped large corporations such as AOL, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Viacom make more money from the web. By the age of 21 not only was Neil named a top 100 blogger by Technorati, but he was also one of the top influencers on the web according to the Wall Street Journal. @NeilPatel

About Adam Loving:

Adam is a software developer and entrepreneur with a keen interest in social media. He has been a computer hacker since the 1980s, cited in Lotus Magazine in his early teens. Adam’s passion for viral user experience design led him to create Twibes, a popular Twitter application.  Adam was featured in Microsoft’s “A Startup A Week” documentary series, where he built a Facebook app to help Room to Read raise money for a computer lab in Cambodia. Adam is also the inventor of the Zuckerbuck (one of the first virtual currencies on Facebook). His Facebook app “Dumb Americans” won an overnight coding contest at the CommunityNext conference in San Jose. @Twibes / @AdamLoving

p.s.  If you have ideas or suggestions for topics you want to learn more about, or industry leaders you want to hear from, let us know. Stay tuned for upcoming Tech Talks @WhitePages on topics like…

  • SEO & SEM
  • LeadGen
  • Lean startup
  • CrowdSourcing
  • SOLR/Hadoop
  • Product design
  • And tons more…