WhitePages Opens Contact Graph API and New Developer Portal

Aug. 21 2014, 04:39PM EDT

WhitePages is opening up developer access to its huge graph database of people and businesses. Their new platform is called the WhitePages PRO Contact Graph and accessed via a RESTful web service called the Graph API.

WhitePages is embracing a more open philosophy. Previously, developers had to apply and be approved to learn about their API and get access to data.  As of today, an overview of the WhitePages API is publicly available and access to their API and developer portal requires only an email verification.  WhitePages will provide you with a developer key, sample API calls to play with and 200 free API requests.

WhitePages is encouraging developer creativity through a hackathon style contest called the WhitePages PRO Contact Mashup Challenge.  WhitePages is hoping developers will create new kinds of apps and services using their data.  

WhitePages PRO Contact Graph

WhitePages built a massive graph database about people and businesses using data it collected operating WhitePages.com for the last 17 years.  WhitePages supplements their own data asset with calls to complementary identity data services.  This combined data resource is available via their Graph API.

WhitePages started building their Contact Graph platform after they saw regular visitors to WhitePages.com coming from IP addresses associated with businesses.  WhitePages found that business teams like call centers and fraud departments were relying on their web site.  Call centers wanted to know how to quickly spell a caller's name.  Fraud departments checked to see if a customer name was really associated with a phone number and shipping address.

WhitePages built out services for businesses in 4 main areas:  1) fraud prevention, 2) lead qualification and contact data completion, 3) identity verification and normalization and 4) personalization and retargeting.

WhitePages transitioned its data backend to a massive graph database, from a traditional relational database.  WhitePages found that organizing its data according to a graph of nodes ('person', 'address') and edges between them ('lives at') in was the optimal way to serve its business customers programmatically.

 

Whitepages PRO sample Graph API graphic

WhitePages PRO API 2.0

Their Graph API is a RESTful web service that supports GET requests and returns JSON responses via HTTP or HTTPS.

GET requests are made to four main API endpoints: Person, Phone, Address and Business. There is also a WhitePages Entity endpoint for working with an entity after you have figured out its ID in their system.

Rich data can be accessed from these endpoints using graph database style node / edge API requests:  

Person API: returns a rich dataset about the person behind a name, including related phone numbers, present and historical addresses and age demographics

Phone API: returns comprehensive data on any phone number, including the person, location and address associated with the number, carrier, status on the Do Not Call list, SPAM score and more

Address API: returns data around who is residing at a particular address, if the address is able to receive mail, associated phone numbers, and more

Business API:  businesses by industry and location are provided with details such as owner, address and phone numbers

WhitePages seems very committed to opening up to developers.  "We are encouraging developers to use our API and give us feedback" says Kushal Shah, API Product Manager for WhitePages PRO. "Our goal is to understand how we can make the API as simple as possible to use, what data we should provide users and how to best create a developer ecosystem around our API."

This is an exciting opportunity for developers to access a powerful platform.  WhitePages.com is a top 40 web site, with 50 million unique visitors and month, and their mobile apps have millions of users. height=

Will M was raised by seal lions in the Santa Monica bay.

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