Natural Search Blog


Whitepages.com Acquiring Snapvine, Focuses On Community Development

WhitePages.com Snapvine MergerWhitePages.com is acquiring Snapvine, a service that allows people to associate audio files with various resources like social networks, photos, text, and blogs. Snapvine enables facilitates voice blogs, similar to podcasting, but perhaps with a little greater ease.

WhitePages states on their blog that they’ll use Snapvine’s technology to provide their users with free, private voicemail boxes. In addition, WhitePages will roll out other features such as email and SMS services.

I think this signals that WhitePages.com will be pursuing community development as an ongoing strategy to maintain and build their traffic. This could be a really strong strategy — encouranging community engagement could drive up usage and associated ad revenues considerably for the residential listings directory. WhitePages.com also offers yellow pages directory service through a partnership with Idearc’s Superpages.com.

Considering the rise of Twitter and other mobile phone services, VOIP applications like Snapvine could be poised to be the next big thing.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the deal likely comes in below previous valuations for Snapvine.

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Google Quietly Decommissions Click-to-Call from Maps

Google quietly decommissioned their experimental click-to-call services from Google Maps. Previously, you could use the “call” links beside phone numbers in their search results:

Google Maps Click to Call
(click to enlarge)

It’d be nice if Google would officially mention when they remove such features from service, even if they were considered experimental. Quite a number of people reported using the feature, and some were even reliant upon it for making things like personal long-distance calls from within companies that didn’t allow employees to do so, or where long distance was actively blocked. Google didn’t announce the change on the Google LatLong Blog where you might expect, but instead stated it in a response to a user’s question in the Troubleshooting section of the Google Maps Help Group:

Google Maps Click to Call Gone
(click to enlarge)

Of course, the service was introduced free, and no one can ever expect a free ride forever, and perhaps cell phones make click-to-call less attractive to users. Though, I would’ve expected they’d first see if they could get such a service to pay for itself through advertising before throwing it out altogether. For instance, each call could’ve been prepended by a brief audio ad or they could be displaying ads along side the call/maps interfaces while users were connecting through. Perhaps they just had trouble working out call quality issues.

For those users seeking a good voice-over-IP (“VOIP”) solution, I guess they can sign up for Skype.

Update: I see this has also been reported by Grant Robertson at downloadsquad.

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Skype Adds Yellow Pages Tools – Local Search for VOIP

Skype released a new beta version for Windows a few days ago, and it includes a new feature called SkypeFind. SkypeFind allows users to search for businesses, add in new business listings, and edit existing listings. It also allows users to review/comment on businesses, following the trend of other online directory and social media sites.

Skype

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