Wink.com is a search engine designed to find people. Users can search for a person by typing in their name and optionally their location and interests. Wink primarily searches for people on the major social networks, but has built a database of over 200 million profiles of people found on the web. The site also offers an email search, where the user types in an email address and the search returns the profile of the person associated with that email address. There is also a phone number search where the user types in the person’s first and last name and a location or zip code and the site searches white pages listings for the person’s phone number. This feature has only been implemented in the San Francisco Bay area to this point – the site is in the process of expanding the area of coverage for this feature.
Registered users can also use Wink as a place to manage their online profile by filling in their details on the Wink site. A person’s Wink profile includes the social networking sites they belong to, contact information, interests, and location. Registered users can claim their profile and control how little or how much of this information is public, and also control the ways in which they can be contacted. Searches on Wink that return multiple results can be refined by a number of factors, including personal, interests, groups, school, career, tags, and distance.Show more screenshots »
Mountain View, CA-based Wink.com was founded in 2005 as a social search engine. It changed to being a people search engine and was launched in its present form in 2006. The site was founded by Michael Tanne, who is currently CEO of the site. The site has hundreds of thousands of unique monthly visitors and an Alexa pagerank well below the 25,000 mark. The site merged with Reunion.com in November 2008. Reunion.com has changed its name to MyLife.com, and some of the search results from the Wink site come from MyLife, but Wink is still being maintained as a separate site on the Internet at this point.
Competition to Wink comes from people search sites such as Spock, networking sites such as LinkedIn, and reunion sites such as MyLife (formerly Reunion.com). Spock is a dedicated people search engine, but does not have nearly as large a database of names as the Wink site. LinkedIn is a professional networking site designed to allow professionals to locate one another and manage their online profile, much like Wink allows users to do. MyLife is primarily designed to reconnect people who have lost contact with one another.
The Wink site has a clean and uncluttered look and feel. The site is very responsive, with page loads happening quickly and search results being returned in a matter of a few seconds. The site has a convenient people search bar located on the home page, with separate search boxes for the person’s name, location and interests. There are convenient links to the email and phone number searches located on the home page. Navigation is intuitive and obvious. There is advertising displayed on the site, primarily from partners offering to search public records, etc. for a fee, but the advertising is fairly unobtrusive.
Registration is not required to search for a person on Wink, but is required for a user to maintain their own profile or invite their friends to join the site. The registration process asks for first and last name, gender, zip code, username, password and email address. Validation of the email address is required. The user is prompted after registering to complete their profile, add URLs to their social networking sites and invite their friends to join Wink. All of these steps are optional.
Wink is free to use, there are no ads.
The Wink site is recommended to anyone who is trying to locate a particular person. The site has the largest database of unique profiles on the Internet, and returns relevant results in most cases. It helps to know something more about a person than just their name in order to find the right person. The site is also recommended to users who would like assistance in managing the information that is available about them online.