How WhitePages Went Green (And How You Can, Too)

going green,

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,

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 Takes On Google and Bing for Local Business Search

WhitePages store locator feature allows you to locate information about multiple store locations with one click.

It’s search’s broken record: Google and Bing return crowded and irrelevant results. We see it all the time, and are sure you do, too. Today, I’m proud to announce the unveiling our new WhitePages Business Search as a simple and easy solution to the problem of business search.  We’ve been working tirelessly to bring you the most accurate contact information for 15 million local businesses across the U.S. in a simple, easy to use experience.  We also think you will love our innovative WhitePages Store Locator featuring one-click access to over 1 million popular national business chain locations in your neighborhood.

WhitePages store locator feature allows you to locate information about multiple store locations with one click.

We all can agree that search is messy. For example, a search for Target in “Seattle, WA” on Google produces:

  • Over 6,000 results
  • 6 irrelevant listings just on the first page
  • On Target Media, LLC. Which is obviously not Target.

A search for Target in Seattle on Bing produces:

  • Over 6 pages of results
  • 6 irrelevant listings on the first page alone
  • Brighton Elementary School. What does that have to do with Target?

A search for Target in Seattle on WhitePages:

  • 16 accurate listings, all in one place.

But we’ve taken search one step further: Gone are the days of scrolling through thousands of web results or using clumsy Store Locators on individual company websites.  Now users can simply search for the business chain they’re looking for or click on a Store Locator icon. Try it for yourself here - We’ll only return the locations nearest you, along with information you want most – address, phone, and store hours. How easy is that?

And if you are still not convinced, watch this short video on how we beat out Google and Bing when searching for “Target” in “Seattle, WA”:

Once you find a business on WhitePages, it is easy share that listing with friends and family by emailing or texting a listing for free.  You’re also now able to share your favorite businesses with your friends on Facebook via the “like” button and to your followers on Twitter.

We are excited about this feature, and want to hear what you think of our new WhitePages Business Search and Store Locator features! We’ve already started to generate some buzz with these features – feel free to read more on TechFlash, Search Engine Land and Paid Content.

Feedback or questions? Follow me on Twitter: @jason_milstead

Announcing: TechTalks at WhitePages


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…

Hate Your Cell Phone Or Carrier? How To Get Your Money Back


You’re not the only person tired of cell phones costing at least $200 in addition to $80+ per month and still requiring a 2 year contract. All in, that’s over $1k down the drain if you make the wrong decision.  Often times carriers have spotty coverage, and sometimes the phone you choose can be harder to use than you first thought. On top of it all, it’s often times unclear if you’re able to return a phone after you buy it, and what refunds you’re entitled to. Here are some tips that will clear up any confusion:

You must act quick.

Here’s the deal, depending on which carrier you go with, you have a window of opportunity to return your phone and get your money back.

Below is a quick look at the return policies when you purchase directly from one of the 4 major US Carriers:

Cell Phone Carrier Return Data

You must do the following:

  • Always ask to see the refund and exchange policy in writing. Wireless carrier policies change all the time, and if you buy from a re-seller or dealer, their policies may be different.
  • Maintain your device in excellent shape with all packaging, accessories, and material that come with the phone.
  • Keep all of your receipts. Most carriers require proof of purchase for a return
  • Be nice and respectful to the person helping you. Your goal is to get your money back.

The bottom line is to read the fine print and ask the sales person these questions before you purchase.

If you have any experiences or tips on returning your cell phone and/or cancelling your coverage let us know.

For more mobile phone tips and wireless news, follow me on Twitter @knakao

Links to Wireless Policies:





Brand Building: SEO, meet Usability and Brand.


Note: This post is the 9th in a series on Brand Building that highlights the approach that WhitePages has taken over the past 15 months to build and reposition its brand.

The following post was written by Darren Dalasta who is our Sr. Marketing Manager running the search marketing team.  He’s been working making sure we maintain and improve our search ranking while we undergo our site’s upgrade. Read the full post below!

For those not familiar with SEO it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Many people, even in marketing or technology, still see SEO as that black art of marketing with a mad scientist sitting in his/her own corner spinning a web of deceit laying a trap for the search engines. Luckily, most have evolved a bit, and you will get more out of your SEO efforts by working WITH your brand and usability (and other) teams than by yourself in that corner. It is becoming evident that brand and SEO are becoming increasingly connected.

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