WhitePages.com Turning into Quasi Wiki

WhitePages.com said it is going to allow users to update, alter and enhance their listings as it morphs into a “people search” engine. From today’s press release:

In 2008, WhitePages.com is committed to adding a number of significant enhancements to its people search service. The new user generated content capability will eventually allow consumers to add email addresses, mobile numbers, and social networking information, to better reflect the full spectrum of ways people like to communicate. To ensure that user controlled information remains accurate, relevant and protected, the company will execute appropriate data verification processes as it relates to editing listings. At the same time the company plans to aggregate online and offline people-related information and make it available for free in one comprehensive place.

Interestingly, WhitePages.com also sees itself as an emerging social network as it makes these changes:

As 2007 comes to a close, WhitePages.coms proprietary contact database covers 80 percent of the U.S. adult population, twice the reach of any direct competitor, and significantly more than online social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn, and even traditional wireline directory assistance. Furthermore, WhitePages.com is free, requires no registration or login, and offers consumers the most direct path to contacting with friends, family and business associates. WhitePages.com made significant progress in growing its database in 2007, doubling in size over the past 10 months from 89 million people to 180 million today, further cementing its position as the undisputed leader in this space.

For years the site has been very “workmanlike,” not sexy. Now the site is trying to reposition to tap into some of the hottest online trends: people search and social networking.

6 Responses to “WhitePages.com Turning into Quasi Wiki”

  1. John Says:

    Thanks for the mention Greg..very much appreciated. We’re certainly looking to move into areas that take us beyond your standard provider of online contact information (read: addresses and land lines). It’ll be an interesting challenge and one that we hope takes us to the next level of company growth. In 2008, you can track progress via our blog at http://blog.whitepages.com/…should be lots of good info coming.

    Thanks again.

    VP, Marketing

  2. Ahmed Farooq Says:

    I am very curious what will be ‘appropriate data verification’ for consumers 🙂

  3. Alex Says:

    We will utilize a variety of techniques, including authentication against phone numbers. Also, I wouldn’t quite say that we view ourselves as an emerging social network. You can read about some of the differentiating points here: http://blog.whitepages.com/index.php/2007/12/11/now-with-80-people-coverage/

    Founder & CEO

  4. Ahmed Farooq Says:

    Interesting – looking forward to it Alex.

    As someone who deals with YP data (and we do some WP wholesale sales too), I can only imagine the headache of dealing with consumer verification (vs business verification).

  5. Some quick thoughts … - Tech Soapbox Says:

    […] Whitepages.com going quasi-wiki. I find this very interesting – and I feel for them the pain of letting users contribute #s etc. […]

  6. Dan Lobo Says:

    getPhone.com goes even further. It’s primarily for the people on the go.
    And you can add or edit your listings.

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