Qwerly shutters profile pages in favour of lucrative 'DNS for people' API

Qwerly, which originally pitched itself as a “DNS for people”, used to have profile pages along the lines of About.me. But no more. As of today the startup is pivoting (my apologies) and shutting profiles in favour of doubling down on its growing API business.

In an email to users today, CEO and founder Max Niederhofer told users that over the last few months demand for integrating Qwerly data into CRM suites, customer support systems, email clients and address books “has far outstripped interest in the Qwerly.com site.”

Formerly, Qwerly was doing people search for the social web and consolidating public identity data to profiles algorithmically. Niederhofer says about 50,000 people accessed the site in April – but over 30 million queries were conducted via the API, many of these from customer sites that pay for the API. Right now there is a free, 1,000 calls per month, on the API if developers want to play around with it.

The database of personal information inputted by users (who could edit their profile pages) will now be deleted and widgets will 404. Qwerly is suggesting users migrate to alternative social media splash page such as Flavors or About.me.

Niederhofer told me that while personal splash pages can garner good traffic, “What do you sell to people looking for people?”

He says too many people search engines often upsell users Spokeo or Intelius to find out whether someone has a criminal record or how much their house is worth.

“For me, that’s a so-so business,” he said. “We found that companies and developers care a lot about consolidated identities of public web data, which remains the Qwerly core offering. They use it to populate CRM suites, customer support systems, address books, application tracking systems, email lists. They like knowing what their customers do on the web so they can personalize their communications to them.”

It’s interesting that Qwerly has made this move and one wonders if they wil have more competitors snapping at their heals soon for this lucrative business.