Ad Supported 411 from AT&T

Maybe we’re just intolerant of ads, but when we heard about AT&T’s new ad supported 411 service, we just laughed. If you’re willing to listen to 40 seconds of advertising, you too can get directory assistance. The best part? There’s auto-connect, but it’s at the advertiser’s discretion. Yes, the media buyer at Pizza Hut’s ad agency decides if you get to auto-connect. Gee, how did we ever live without this.

Currently AT&T’s service is available in Bakersfield, CA, Oklahoma City, OK, and Columbus, OH. It’ll be nationwide sometime in 2007. We guess it could be handy in pinch, as the number is easy to remember. 1-800-YellowPages. There are other options out there. Have any of you tried them?—MEGHANN MARCO

AT&T To Offer Free 411 [Wired Blogs]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Phyllis Nefler says:

    i think i’d rather listen to an ad than pay almost 2 bucks for cingular 411!

  2. TedSez says:

    If the advertiser pays for it, will they auto-connect you to the local Pizza Hut when you asked for Papa John’s?

  3. bluegus32 says:

    If you’re willing to listen to an ad then try 1-800-free-411. It’s still hit or miss at times and there’s no way to get live help but hey it’s free 411.

    See the snopes article here for more info

  4. This means were only 1 step away from Ad Supported 911.

  5. kerry says:

    er, isn’t the number just 1-800-YELLOWP?

  6. Meg Marco says:

    Kerry, yes. It will connect when you get to “P.”

  7. malatron says:

    I use 1.800.411.6387.
    I’m trying it right now to see how long the ads are, but it’s busy. Though I have, and do use it, and I recall it being a very reasonable service.
    Maybe 30 second commercials? with a live operator if you request one, and/or duff the voice activated service on purpose. And you get two requests per call, I believe.

  8. homerjay says:

    800-free-411 works great. I use it from my cell phone when 411 is the only way to get a phone number. (i’m not the internet-phone type). You can get a live operator if it doesn’t recognize the name your trying to say. Its become more impressive over the past few months, like if you have to call back to get the number again for whatever reason, it recognized your caller ID and as soon as it answers it asks whether or not you want to hear the last number you requested.
    I like it.

  9. droppedD says:

    I generally just text message Google (46645, or GOOGL) if I know the name and place. If you’re on a text messaging plan, it doesn’t cost ya anything extra (otherwise, it’ll cost you 2-3 text messages for the query and replies) – no data plan required.

    For example, texting “target, everett MA” or “pizza 11212” gets you back one or two pages worth of addresses and phone numbers of Target stores near Everett MA or pizza joints in downtown NYC, respectively. And they’re stored in a text message so you can go back and see them later (and click on the phone number listed to dial, on most phones).

  10. Meg Marco says:

    droppedD, that’s the coolest thing ever. I did not know that.

  11. bluegus32 says:

    droppedD: Holy crap! I didn’t know you could do that. I just tried and it totally works! I am dumbfounded. Thanks for the tip.

  12. malatron says:

    umm…ditto on the ‘mouth open’ look when i read that google text message thing.


  13. Citron says:

    DroppedD, That is EXACTLY what I do. I used it recently to find pizza places, an urgent care clinic, a victoria’s secret — you name it.

    Google SMS also shows weather reports (send a message “WEATHER ,”) movie showtimes, driving directions, word definitions, and all sorts of other neat features of maybe less usefulness, like translations. has a full list of features.

  14. Citron says:

    Whoops. That’s WEATHER +zipcode.

  15. Papa K says:

    I’ve used the free 411 before and it works fine (I mean, I can afford to use 2-minutes of airtime vs. verizon’s 411 service) but I’m totally jumping on the google mobile.

  16. kerry says:

    Google SMS is truly the greatest of inventions. I have gotten some sort of crappy results before, as the Google local database is not perfectly accurate. For example, I was once told there was a Steak and Shake on North Ave in Chicago. I then drove around looking for it. There is no Steak and Shake in Chicago, at all. Another time I tried to get to a Burger King via Google Local, it took me to an optometrist. I think maybe there used to be a BK at that location, but it was long, long gone. Like, several years gone. Caveat emptor, and all that.
    One big plus of Google SMS is that a lot of phones will automatically recognize phone numbers in text messages, so if you need to call the place you just have to scroll to the number and select it to do so.