WhitePages.com has number for fast growth

What: W3 Data, an online directory-assistance company, aka WhitePages.com

Who: Max Bardon, 37, president

How long on job: Since April 2002

When: Founded in 1997

Who else: The company has 40 employees and has openings for six more.

What it does: W3 Data provides directory-assistance information online. It also develops products that enable companies to retrieve directory-assistance data at a fast and discounted rate.

Where: Based in Seattle

Why: The original idea came from Alex Algard, founder and chairman, in his Stanford dorm room as a hobby. According to Bardon, Algard purchased WhitePages.com for $500 to $600 in 1996. "Initially he thought it was going to be more of an e-mail directory," Bardon said. "He was looking for something that would resonate with people."

What it offers: Consumer services include WhitePages.com, a free online directory-assistance service to find people or businesses; MyWhitePages, a free site that requires registration and offers features beyond WhitePages.com; and PhoneNumber.com, another free service. Noted uses include finding addresses for wedding invitations and holiday cards or uploading information into Outlook contacts.

Product line: Among the most popular is BatchAppend411, which allows a business to import a list of names and receive address information for 10 to 20 cents per listing.

What to look for: The company has two new products. Prospect411, designed to help build mailing lists or sales leads, is expected soon. BillDetail411, which just went live, is available for phone companies that offer online billing.

Caveat: The directory information W3 Data offers is generally at least 90 days old, but two of its products — BatchAppend411 and API411 — offer data up to 48 hours old.

Success and strategy: The company focuses on attracting partners, having the ability to provide quality data and keeping prices competitive.

Though it would not disclose figures, it says it has had year-over-year revenue and profit increases in the triple digits.

— Marisa Dorazio