MSN Replaces InfoSpace With WhitePages.com

In a deal that could significantly increase traffic for WhitePages.com, MSN tapped the directory listings company to power its phone and address listings. The listings were previously provided by InfoSpace.com, which powers directory listings on America Online.

WhitePages already provides residential listings for major portal sites in Canada, like MSN.ca and AOL.ca, but MSN is the company's first major US portal site. "We do anticipate that they will be our largest partner," said Susie Kang, Whitepages.com senior vice president for the WhitePages network. She predicted that the MSN deal should drive site traffic up by about 25 percent. comScore reports that WhitePages.com received 8.2 million unique users in February.

With the deal, which went live Friday, a co-branded Whitepages.com site is linked to MSN's home page, under the category "Look It Up." The service allows users to search for residential listings, and contains links to companies that sell credit reports and other information.

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The site hosts Interactive Advertising Bureau-standardized ad units and sponsored links. MSN declined to disclose any information about ad revenue arrangements.

An MSN spokeswoman said that the directory services will not immediately be incorporated into MSN's main search offering, but that the company might do so in the future. "MSN is continuously monitoring consumer feedback and industry trends to prioritize areas of improvement and innovation, and will be adding a number of features to the search experience in the near future," the spokeswoman said.

InfoSpace's Web site lists other companies, including America Online, as partners. InfoSpace did not return phone calls by press time.

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