Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Tell A Friend", Mobile web version OR reverse mobile carrier lookup

One of the key components to enable word-of-mouth spreading of a good service, is the ability for one user to share the experience with their friend. Duh.
In mobile, how can you enable that? SMS your friend, Email your friend, Twitter, maybe others. Facebook connect has been anticipated for ages on mobile web, but they seem to like only iphone apps, for now.
Trying not to force a behavior change or forcing someone to type in a full email address on their phone, I was looking for a simple, and free way for users to "tell their friends" over SMS.
If you have a service that uses SMS, then you're working with an SMS aggregation, and, for the most part, they need to know the carrier as well as the phone number you're sending the SMS to. But, what if you don't know the carrier?? I mean, the user of the service may know the phone number of their friend, but is it realistic to expect them to know the carrier? No, it's not.
So, you turn to the aggregation and ask them about reverse carrier lookup.
News flash: On top of the $.03 the resulting SMS will cost, the lookup will be additional $.02-$.03 and some 2-3 digit monthly minimum. Right, the US carriers are starving and need to make more money.
Alright, Google search takes you into this terrific FREE White pages feature. You can reverse lookup mobile carriers by phone numbers, and, from my experiments, they have it right!
Next step: sign up for their API. But: the API returns completely different, incorrect results!

I asked their API people for their thoughts on this, and here's what I got back:
"The carrier information available through our free, developer API is the same information we display in our search results on WhitePages. So, in terms of search results for a reverse phone query, the information is the same. However, on WhitePages, we offer an exclusive “Mobile Carrier Lookup” feature. We do not plan on including the mobile carrier information available through the “Mobile Carrier Lookup” feature on WhitePages via the free, developer API."

I'm speechless. This is really valuable information that's available one place and not in the API. Easily fixable, but they don't seem to see the value. ugh.


Kevin Nakao said...

Hi Amir, great understanding of the consumer need and opportunity around mobile carrier look-up.

It's not a technical barrier that prevents us from including in our free developer API but one of cost. It's fairly expensive to support this feature. On our website we can underwrite this with our advertising and sponsors, but can't on the Free API. For mobile, it is a combination of cost and priority. Your feedback is helpful and we will take another look at this for our mobile website.

Kevin Nakao
VP of Mobile,
WhitePages, Inc.

Amir Rozenberg said...

Thank you for taking the time to read & respond to my post. I also want to give credit to White Pages for recognizing a gap and opportunity with the reverse carrier functionality you offer, as well as the opportunity in offering an API for developers.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I have strong opinions about the net effect caused by charging legitimate SMS-generating services, as those are, at the end of the day, generating revenue to the carriers. Charging for the reverse carrier lookup is absurd, IMO. These are the things that keep the US mobile ecosystem light years behind the rest of the world.

I could only hope that White Pages could at least make a dent, even if it meant that developers had to give credit to White Pages wherever your API was in use.

Anonymous said...

порно фото пьяных
порно рабы
порно видео малалеток
видео ролики секс машины
penthouse letters
чехия порно
секс ролики лесби
порно фото возраст
секс псориаз
porn reply php topic

Anonymous said...

I'm the sort of hombre who passions to try unprecedented things. Presently I'm manufacturing my hold pv panels. I am doing it all alone without the assistance of my men. I'm using the net as the only path to acheive this. I stumbled upon a truly brilliant website which explains how to create solar panels and so on. The web site explains all the steps required to solar panel construction.

I am not really sure bout how precise the info given there is. If some people over here who have xp with these works can have a see and give your feedback in the site it would be awesome and I'd highly treasure it, because I really take an interest in solar panel construction.

Tnx for reading this. U guys are great.

Anonymous said...

[url=]hip hop jewelry[/url],[url=]hip hop pendants[/url],hip hop watches,[url=]bling bling[/url] ,hip hop,[url=]hip hop chains[/url],hip hop bling,[url=]iced out chains[/url],[url=]wholesale chains[/url]
hip hop jewelry
wholesale hip hop watches
hip hop rings

Kayla Leech said...

There are sites that only allow you to look up one number a day; however, there are websites such as,, that will allow a company to processes the thousands of numbers in your database without losing the integrity of your data.