WhitePages.com is looking to boost its traffic through the upcoming formal launch of its Daily Pop deals offering as well as the introduction of more local business listings, Jason Milstead, director of business search, told PaidContent in an interview. Here's the plan.
Times are tough and although WhitePages.com has been around the block since 1997, its revenues have been declining from their peak level, which is precisely why the company is ready to make "big bets," starting with business listings, Milstead said.
Back in April, WhitePages.com launched the beta version of Business Search, which has so far boosted the number of such queries on the site to 16 million a month, up from 13-14 million.
Bringing Local Business Searches Home
Building on such promises, WhitePages.com will, as of today, bring in-house the local business searches instead of sending them to third-party sites. No details were given on who the partnering sites were. Milstead said that taking home those operations move will enable the company to "broker deals around the business search product that we haven't done before."
For example, WhitePages.com will launch DealPop, a daily deals service, in the hope of banking on the traffic that local business listings will bring home to its site. Competitors such as Groupon or LivingSocial are clearly at a disadvantage as they do not have the local businesses listings to rely on. Instead, they have to invest in costly advertising campaigns. They "had to build up that traffic from day one," Milstead said, adding that "they don't have a business search product they're integrating with." According to PaidContent, the launch will take place "in coming weeks."
Also today, WhitePages.com is launching its "Store Locator," a feature that lets users find the local branches of national chain stores.
Changes Galore To Gain Traction
However, within a highly competitive environment, it may take more for WhitePages.com to climb to a higher ranking within the top 50 U.S. sites by traffic. Localeze, which manages business listings identity for local search is already big on the market and both launching enhanced services as well as entering partnership deals with the likes of Twitter to boost its business.
Since last year, the local search engine has undergone lots of changes with the ferm intention to win more traffic. It has notably launched into a $2.5 million site overhaul, and crowd sourced the filling up of its database by calling on users to enter and/or edit their own listings, including mobile phone numberes. The site also integrated social media data into its SERP. More recently, the company rolled out its new mobile website for touch screen phones (read: iPhone and Android, of course). WhitePages.com said its mobile services account for more than $1 million of its revenue.
Will all those changes and "big bets" be enough to help the company gain more traction and generate more revenue? What do you think?
Update: We've clarified the paragraph about traffic generation from Business Searches as the company explained to us the rationale behind it. We might have more for you later and will make sure to keep you posted. Stay tuned...
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!