WhitePages.com, which regularly ranks among the top 50 most popular websites in the country by traffic, is on the look out for new sources of growth. The directory site is making a new push into local business listings and is set to follow that up with the launch of a new daily deals service called Deal Pop in coming weeks.
WhitePages.com has given visitors the option to search for local businesses for almost a decade, although it has historically sent those queries to third-party sites. Starting Thursday, it’s taking those listings in-house and adding several features, including a “store locator,” which lets people find branches of national chains in their area. That may sound unglamorous, but it’s badly needed, considering searches for local locations of national chains on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Bing bring up surprisingly poor results.
In an interview, Jason Milstead, WhitePage.com’s director of business search, said that the number of business searches on WhitePages.com has risen from about 13 to 14 million a month to more than 16 million a month since WhitePages.com launched a beta of the product in April. He also said the move will let the company “broker deals around the business search product that we haven’t done before.”
That includes DealPop, which will be able to leverage the traffic that the listings bring to WhitePages.com — giving it an advantage over other daily deal siervices that have had to spend heavily on advertising in order to bring in users. “Groupon, LivingSocial had to build up that traffic from day one,” he says. “They don’t have a business search product they’re integrating with.”
WhitePages.com says overall it continues to do well; it says its mobile services are taking off and now generate more than $1 million in revenue. Last year, WhitePages.com launched a site overhaul, which was designed in part to encourage users to add their own listings — including cell phone numbers — to its database and the company says that more than two million people have done so to date.
But the company acknowledges that its revenue is down from its peak — and Milstead said the company wants to make some “big bets.” Business listings are the start, he said.