You’ve seen them cropping up in various places: email signatures, business cards… even holiday greetings. People are increasingly adding their social networking user names to their traditional contact information. Is it simply self-promotion (follow me on twitter! @keelarobison)? Certainly in many cases, yes. But it’s more than that. Social networking sites have for many people become the hubs of our online personas; the places where we communicate broadly with our friends and colleagues. These sites are also emerging as a preferred means of communication for some, who more regularly check their Facebook inbox than they do their email.
At WhitePages, our mission is to make it fantastically simple for people to connect with confidence. Today we’re announcing that we are adding publicly available social networking user pages to our service, making it even easier for our customers to connect. Our current “preview” launch provides access to millions of Twitter and Facebook user pages, and in the near future we will be adding significantly to this feature with additional public profiles and social networks. Likewise, anyone who adds or edits their WhitePages member listing is invited to add their social networking links to make it easier for others to reach them via their preferred means of communication.
A funny thing happened on the way to adding these new contact points: we realized that WhitePages will arguably be a better place to search for Facebook and Twitter users than those respective sites or the major search engines. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been frustrated by searching for people on most of these sites. For example, this morning when I searched for “David Robison” on Facebook I got anywhere from 1,800 to 2,100 people results, yet searching for Dave Robison yields 1,600 to 1,900 results, many of which are David’s. Whaa? If you are a new user, they show only 160 matches for David Robison. Huh? Add state to your search and you’ll get a different and even more confounding set of results and sort order.
Unlike social sites or traditional search engines, WhitePages is not optimizing for a generic search – we’re focused on connecting people, so you get the benefit of many years of optimizing the people search experience: nicknames, easy geographic searching, and more. That means that you’ll be able to quickly and easily find and connect with more people.
So give it a spin. Look for social networking listings as an option above our traditional results – you’ll also find that they’re highlighted in the main search results area when a traditional contact listing can’t be found. I’ll be curious to know what you think.