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Netlore Archive: Forwarded email touts a free 411 directory assistance service underwritten by advertisers

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Nov. 2005
Status: True

Example:
Email text contributed by Erin C., Dec. 7, 2005:

Subject: Free 411 calls
Importance: High

Good Morning!

On channel 7 this morning they reported on information to get free 411 calls on your cell phone just dial 1-800-free-411 (instead of just 411) and you don't pay the $1.25 per call or whatever your cell company charges anymore. You know how we like free things. You can save on your bill too.

The next time you're driving and want to place a 411 call use this toll free number, remember to save it to your phone!

Pass it on.

I called and it works!


Analysis: True, but there's a small catch — you may have to listen to a few seconds of advertising before you get the information you really want.

1-800-FREE-411 is a new service offered to Internet and cell phone users in which the usual directory assistance fee is defrayed by advertisers instead of callers.

It works like this: When you ask for the number of, say, a particular local restaurant, you first hear a brief, roughly 10-second ad for a competing restaurant. At the end of the message, you are offered the option of connecting to either business.

Though some callers may find the process confusing at first, it's a safe bet that many 411 users will happily sit through the commercials instead of paying the fees — as much as US$3.00 per call or more, in some instances — charged by their own service providers.


Sources and further reading:

1-800-Free411
Official Web site of 1-800-FREE411

Free 411 From Your Cell?
The BostonChannel, 15 December 2005

Free Directory Assistance
WCPO.com, 7 December 2005


Last updated: 12/16/05


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