Save Money. Dial Up An Ad.

If you want to save money, erase 1-800-555-1212 from your memory.

Not long ago, the price of a cup of coffee got you a phone number from directory assistance. Now, calling 411 will nick you for the price of a Starbucks coffee.
But take heart. A new crop of 800 services is offering free directory assistance. The catch: You first have to listen to a commercial for up to 15 seconds.
The newest of the three entrants, 1-800-411-SAVE, is launching nationwide Tuesday after trials in Chicago and San Francisco.
Typical landline directory-assistance from the big phone companies costs $1.25 a call, but out-of-region listings are often $1.99 and can range as high as $3.49, says Kathleen Pierz of the Pierz Group, a research company. A wireless 411 call generally costs $1.50.
In the mid-1990s, directory assistance typically cost about 35 cents.
As landline call volumes, including 411, have plunged, carriers have boosted 411 prices to grow or stabilize revenue

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Yea!
    1-800-FREE411 is another one.

  2. You want a phone number? Well, pay a couple bucks or listen to us sell you something.
    This tends to place advertising out front as the bad guy, rather than the service provider. (We remind people not to shoot the messenger because they usually do.) This is especially true when the public assumes the service should be free – or, at least, affordable.
    This will demand the messages we force-feed to customers be entertaining. Otherwise, they’re just more noise added to the outcry over advertising encroaching into every nook and cranny of life.

  3. 1-800-411-SAVE has live operators no matter where you are in the US and Canada, and no matter what time of day you call. (This provides the best quality of service for your business customers’ employees.) Automation has a 69.3% ACCURACY while live agents have 90+% ACCURACY! Second, callers can ask for all types of listings (not just business, but government and people, too). Check out their video at