1-800-FREE-411 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News



About 6 billion calls are made to directory assistance each year, making it an 8 billion dollar industry.

But Boston-based company Jingle Networks decided you should not have to pay to get in touch with a company you want to do business with. That's the cornerstone concept behind 1-800-FREE-411.

When you call 1-800 free 411, you're asked all the same questions as regular directory assistance, like what city and state? What listing? I ask for Cingular Wireless.

What's you listen to next is how the company makes money.

The operator says, "While we search for your listing, I want to tell you about a great offer from Verizon. Connect now, and you can get a free phone, free Fed-Ex shipping, and up to 200 dollars."

It's a twelve second ad from one of Cingulars major competitors.

Now, you have a choice to make...either connect to Cingular or its competitor Verizon.

The company founder, Tom Latinovich, says a lot of people choose the competitor over the number they originally called for. 

"It really does depend on the category, but so far, we're reallly pleased with the consumer response. In fact, we've had a lot of consumers call and ask who our advertisers are because they like our service so much, that they want to give more business to those advertisers."

The ads are limited to 12 seconds, so theoretically, it shouldn't take much longer than regular directory assistance, but I wanted to see for myself.

1-800-free-411 took just under 2 minutes from start to finish. Regular 411 got the information I needed in one minute flat.

So, you make the call.  If, for you, time really is money, you better stick with regular directory assistance. But hundreds of thousands of people nationwide have decided it's worth an extra minute of their time, to have some extra cash in their pocket.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting. lwilcox@kltv.com


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