|Headquarters||Seattle, Washington, US, US|
|Founder(s)||Alex Algard (current CEO)|
|Products||People search, contact data, mobile apps|
|Type of site||Directory|
Whitepages is a provider of contact information for people and businesses. It also develops mobile apps and business services that make use of its contact data. It has the largest database available of contact information on US residents, which is used for services by USPS and MSN, among others. The company's revenue comes primarily from advertising.
Whitepages was founded in 1997 as a hobby for then-Stanford student Alex Algard. It was incorporated in 2000 and received $45 million in funding in 2005. From 2008 to 2013, Whitepages released several mobile apps, social features and the ability for consumers to control their contact information.
The idea for Whitepages was conceived by Alex Algard, while studying at Stanford in 1996. Algard was searching for a friend's contact information and the phone company gave him the wrong number. He thought of an online email directory as an easier to way to find people. Algard bought the Whitepages.com domain for nine hundred dollars, which he says was all of his savings at the time. He continued operating the website as a hobby while working as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. In 1998, Algard left his job to focus on the website; he incorporated Whitepages in 2000.
In 2003, Algard stepped down as CEO to focus on CarDomain.com, which he had also founded. In 2005, Technology Crossover Ventures and Providence Equity Partners invested $45 million in the company. That same year, MSN adopted Whitepages' directory data for its "Look it up" feature. Algard returned to the company in 2007. By the end of that year, the Whitepages database had grown to 180 million records and the company was listed as one of Deloitte's 500 fastest growing technology companies in North America three times.
In 2008, Whitepages said it would start working on options for users to control their information on the site. That same year, it acquired VoIP developer Snapvine in order to add features where users could be called through the website without giving out their phone number. It also introduced an api, which gave third-party developers access to Whitepages' data. Whitepages released an iOS app that August, followed by the Whitepages Caller ID app for Android devices in February 2009 and for Blackberry that May. The ability for consumers to add themselves to the directory was added in the summer of 2009 and being able to edit existing entries was added that October.
Whitepages.com underwent a re-design in 2009. According to VentureBeat reporter Matt Marshall, the redesign made the advertising "cleaner" and made it more obvious when someone was going to a third-party website like US Search. Marshall had previously criticized Whitepages, because website users that clicked on US Search ads and purchased data from US Search were sent through perpetual advertisements for other services that made it difficult to access the information they paid for. A local business lookup feature called "Store Finder" was added in June 2010. The following month, Whitepages.com launched a deal site, Dealpop.com, which differed from Groupon by offering short-term deals on nationally available products. Dealpop was sold to Tippr the following year.
Whitepages released the Localicious app in July 2011. The app was released on Android first, because Whitepages was frustrated with Apple's approval process for iPhone apps. Whitepages PRO was also introduced that same year. An updated Android app called Current Caller ID was released in August 2012. Within a year of its release, 5 billion calls and texts had been transmitted using the app. It was updated in July 2013 with new features, such as the ability to customize the layout of caller information for each caller and the ability to "Like" Facebook posts from within the app. In June 2013, Whitepages acquired Mr. Number, an Android app for blocking unwanted callers.
Whitepages provides an online directory of contact information and related services that are accessible through seven web properties, ten mobile apps and partner websites that use Whitepages' data like MSN, Switchboard and Address.com. It has about 50 million unique visitors per month and performs two billion searches per month.
Whitepages has the largest database of contact information of Americans. As of 2008, it had data on about 90 percent of the US adult population, including 200 million records on people and 15 million business listings. Whitepages' data is collected from property deeds, telecom companies, and public records. Privacy is a common concern regarding Whitepages' publishing of personal contact information. The Whitepages.com website has features that allow users to remove themselves from the directory or correct and update information. Most of WhitePage's revenue comes from advertising on its websites.
Whitepages also develops the Current Caller ID mobile app, which replaces the Android user interface for making and receiving phone calls. It displays information on callers, such as their latest social media posts, local weather at the caller's location and the identity of the caller. It also develops Localicious, a local search app that provides tips on businesses in a local neighborhood.
Whitepages has a paid service called Whitepages PRO that can be accessed from within business software using an API or through an online interface. It helps check online orders for common indicators of fraud, such as using an address from an unoccupied building, and tells call center agents if someone is calling from a cell-phone.
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