May 17, 2006

Free 411 Service

What once was a free service from your local telephone company has turned into a huge moneymaker for both local and wireless companies, I’m talking about the 411 directory assistance service which by industry records is used about 6 billion times each year. Multiply that number by the typical $1.00 fee (or more in the case of mobile phones) and you can see how this formally free service is now costing us a fortune.

Today I learned about a new company called Jingle Networks, which is providing nationwide directory service free. Callers to 1-800-FREE411 (1-800-373-3411) from your landline or mobile phone will give you access to an automated voice recognition system that will ask you for a location (city & state), type of listing (business, government or residential), and name. When the service has found your listing, it will speak the information aloud and offer you the option to connect to the number by pressing a single number on your telephone keypad. If the automated system has any problems you are quickly connected to a live operator who will assist you.

How can they offer this service at no charge? In the words of Jingle Networks PR,

“The service is made possible by thousands of national and local businesses who sponsor this service with brief valuable audio advertisements that are played to callers who request businesses in their yellow pages category. This advertising model allows businesses to acquire new customers over the phone, cost effectively, with little or no risk. Meanwhile callers get free directory assistance, potentially saving each of them thousand of dollars per year.”

In practice when you place your call to Jingle Networks and request a business number you are presented first with a short 10-12 second audio advertisement for a sponsor who has a competing business in that area. You then are given the option to be connected to either the competitor or your original requested number. If there is no sponsor then you will not hear any advertisement (also in the case of residential or government listings).

So the next time your in your car (or home) and are in need of directory assistance consider this alternative and save some money on your phone bills.


Anonymous your1635neighbor said...

Mike, kudos for the excellent, very helpful, and much needed information you are providing our little community... Thanks very much!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 8:46:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Lederman said...

Your very welcome

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:11:00 AM  

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