Free 411 Service New Ad Medium


While it's so easy to press 411 instead of looking for that old fashioned thing they call the Phone Book, there's always a bit of pain each month as you check your land and cell phone bills which usually contain more than a few over-priced 411 charges. A relatively new service, called 1-800-FREE411 intends to eliminate that pain and, at the same time, create a new ad medium.

1-800-FREE411 is a free 411 service that is supported by advertising. When callers dial the number, a computer voice welcomes them to 1-800-FREE411 and asks for the city, state, business or residence and attempts to get the number. If it can't, a human operator finds the number. While the number is being found, which, of course, doesn't take nine seconds, a nine second ad plays giving the caller the choice to respond to the ad or simply get the number they wanted in the first place. Advertisers pay for ads only when callers "dial through" in response to the ad.

The service is slower than standard 411 since the ad, if there is one matched to the call request, has to be heard before getting the desired number but that's the trade off for free 411 service. While the name recognition bot could use a bit of training, once the number is found, the call is automatically connected which is an added benefit not normally found with land line 411.

While one wonders whether anyone will actually change their 411 dialing habits, the service does provide an interesting, location and contextually based advertising medium worthy of exploration by marketers.

by Steve Hall    Nov-29-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Specialty   

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Nifty service, except that it's telephone lookup (by phone) omits many residences that are actually available (online) at

For instance, try asking them for "Kohs" in West Chester, PA -- no record. Look it up online, though, and there is Gregory Kohs.

One hopes that they would work out that bug.

Posted by: TheKohser on November 29, 2005 2:17 PM

A couple of notes: the "name recognition bot" will improve with each call, as it "learns" from each call that comes in. Also, FYI, there are no ads (at least for now) for receiving residential numbers.

Do you really think people won't change their 411 habits, given that people are charged up to $4 for 411 calls and NEVER charged on FREE411?

Posted by: Jen O. on November 29, 2005 2:19 PM

When it becomes more well known I can't imagine why anyone would NOT use this free service. Why would you pay something when you can get it free?

Posted by: Sharon on November 29, 2005 8:57 PM

So far the best FREE 411 service I found:
1-800-411-METRO >> by Infreeda
411Metro has super friendly LIVE! operators, offer nationwide listings, and are advertiser supported. Many people balk at advertiser supported services, but I have found the ads very unobtrusive and well-placed. Save $1.50 to listen to 10 second ad, sign me up!

Posted by: Cettio on December 19, 2005 1:47 AM

I tried both, and 1 800 411 METRO is the only one that will connect you to your business listing right now. free 411 will not. I think it's just easier to use 1 800 411 METRO.

Posted by: bobby on March 23, 2006 6:05 PM