Monday, February 19, 2007

Oh, I Like This Service!

I'd heard about this service quite a while ago, but, traveling down the road looking for a phone number, I thought I'd give it a try. The service, 1-800-free411 (1-800-373-3411), is offered just like it says: free. Call from a land line, you pay zero. Call from a cellphone and you just have your regular airtime charges to deal with -- a far cry from the buck or two you can pay for just one regular 411 call.

How can they offer this service? Here's the scoop: like network TV, 1-800-free411 has commercials. Dial in and an automated service will ask you for the location and name of your party and then provide you the number. While you're waiting, you listen to the very brief offer. Do nothing and the offer is declined. A great part of the service is that you can press a button and have the number you're seeking "texted" to your cellphone (if that where you're calling from). Very handy if you want to save the number to your contact manager.

Cleverly, the second time I used it, I'd forgotten the number (and even more cleverly neglected to have them text-me the number). When I called back to get the number again, the nice automated voice asked me if I wanted the service to repeat the last number I called about.

I was in love.

Concerned about privacy (like anyone needs cellphone spam), I read their Privacy Policy. Except for the fact that your number is visible to every 800 service (even if you have it blocked) and that, if you have the service forward you to the party you're seeking, they don't capture your cellphone number at all. There's more on the site, so be sure to read it before you decide.