Funding: $400k Series A – First Round Capital, Lead Dog Ventures
Location: San Francisco, CA
Directory assistance calls are expensive – $1 and higher – and yet 6 billion of them are made every year in the U.S. 1-800-free-411 is a new and brilliant service from Jingle Networks that provides this service to consumers for free.
1-800-FREE411 was created to provide callers with a free alternative to the skyrocketing rates being charged by phone companies for directory assistance (411).
The service is made possible by thousands of national and local businesses who sponsor this service with brief valuable audio advertisements that are played to callers who request businesses in their yellow pages category. This advertising model allows businesses to acquire new customers over the phone, cost effectively, with little or no risk. Meanwhile callers get free directory assistance, potentially saving each of them thousand of dollars per year.
The company was founded by veteran advertising and technology executives who pioneered some of the most innovative and successful advertising solutions in online media and now they are opening yet another channel for businesses to acquire new customers. This time, it’s over the phone.
The service works mostly like normal directory assistance. You dial their phone number and go through an automated system that asks for the location, type of listing and listing name. While you are waiting for the number, you must listen to a 12 second advertisement from a competitor to the service. If you choose to use the competitor instead, you simply dial “1” to redirect your call.
Another difference is that if there is no local advertiser for the business type you have requested, the business receiving the call hears a short message at the beginning of the call telling them that the call is via Free-411. A tele-sales group follows up with the business to try to get them to advertise. Free-411 claims a 13% success rate in converting businesses to advertisers.
Free-411 gave a presentation at DEMO last week, which is available along with additional company information here.
As a user I love this, and I would highly consider advertising with them if I owned a small business.
Scott Kliger – Founder and CEO
Tom Latinovich – Founder and SVP
Joshua Kopelman – Chairman
Susan S. Bratton – Advisor