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.