WhitePages.com has number for fast growth
What: W3 Data, an online directory-assistance company, aka WhitePages.com
Who: Max Bardon, 37, president
How long on job: Since April 2002
When: Founded in 1997
Who else: The company has 40 employees and has openings for six more.
What it does: W3 Data provides directory-assistance information online. It also develops products that enable companies to retrieve directory-assistance data at a fast and discounted rate.
Where: Based in Seattle
Why: The original idea came from Alex Algard, founder and chairman, in his Stanford dorm room as a hobby. According to Bardon, Algard purchased WhitePages.com for $500 to $600 in 1996. "Initially he thought it was going to be more of an e-mail directory," Bardon said. "He was looking for something that would resonate with people."
What it offers: Consumer services include WhitePages.com, a free online directory-assistance service to find people or businesses; MyWhitePages, a free site that requires registration and offers features beyond WhitePages.com; and PhoneNumber.com, another free service. Noted uses include finding addresses for wedding invitations and holiday cards or uploading information into Outlook contacts.
Product line: Among the most popular is BatchAppend411, which allows a business to import a list of names and receive address information for 10 to 20 cents per listing.
What to look for: The company has two new products. Prospect411, designed to help build mailing lists or sales leads, is expected soon. BillDetail411, which just went live, is available for phone companies that offer online billing.
Caveat: The directory information W3 Data offers is generally at least 90 days old, but two of its products — BatchAppend411 and API411 — offer data up to 48 hours old.
Success and strategy: The company focuses on attracting partners, having the ability to provide quality data and keeping prices competitive.
Though it would not disclose figures, it says it has had year-over-year revenue and profit increases in the triple digits.
— Marisa Dorazio
Information in this article, originally published October 13, was corrected October 15. Max Bardon has been president of W3 Data since April 2002. A previous version of this Interface column mistakenly said he had been on the job for only six months. Also, W3 Data's WhitePages.com has an enhanced service called MyWhitePages, which is different from mywhitepages.com, a URL the company does not own. The article suggested that the company owned it. And though directory information W3 Data offers is generally at least 90 days old, data offered in two of its products BatchAppend411 and API411 is up to 48 hours old.
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