WhitePages.com announced this month that 2008 will mark its shift to a community driven model by enabling users to manage their own listing on the service. Users will be able to add, correct, hide and delete information. Also in 2008, WhitePages.com will also increase the depth of information available as well as the number of people searchable in its database.

The new user generated content capability is expected to enable consumers to add email addresses, mobile phone numbers and social networking information. To ensure the accuracy of the information, WhitePages.com will have data verification processes in place. The company will also aggregate online and offline people-related information and offer it for free.

WhitePages.com currently has a proprietary contact database that covers 80 percent of the U.S. adult population. This year, the company increased the size of the database from 89 million people to 180 million in just 10 months.

This is a smart move by WhitePages.com. In order to be successful in this marketplace, you must have a vast database of contact information. But, of course, your job doesn't end there. Quantity does not equal quality and that's why infusing the content with user-generated contributions is also such a great idea. People are becoming more accustomed to being a part of the information-gathering process. And they should be part of the process. They're great resources; and they value accuracy as much as the data providers themselves. With companies such as WhitePages.com working side-by-side with users, everyone wins. The value of user-generated content can't and shouldn't be ignored.