As we move towards a ad-funded existence, more and more of your day-to-day services will become cheaper or free. The guys at Trendwatching have called this movement ‘Free Love‘ which describes it perfectly (head on over there to check it out, great read).

While the lucky people of Japan get ad-funded vending machines, here in the UK we’ll have to settle for a cheaper directory enquiries service.

Calling directory enquiries from your mobile is ridiculously expensive in the UK. 118 118, which charges an average £1.13 when called from a mobile. Other services including Maureen (118 212) and YELL (118 247) cost £1.08, while BT(118 500) costs £1.38. So there is definitely space for a cheaper, ad-funded option.

That’s where 68100 comes in, for a flat rate of just 35p you can get the usual directory enquiries service for a quarter of the price. The catch is that you have to listen to a 20 second advert.


Once you put down the phone you’ll get a text message with the requested number as well as the offer from the advertiser in case you want to take it up later. What’s also interesting is that whilst on the phone you can press ‘2’ and take up the offer there and then. Although this is charged at 35p per minute which is expensive.

Just tried the service and it’s a little bit clunky. There is a IVR bit at the beginning which slows you down when you just want the business number as quickly as possible.

The audio offer I got was from O2 for unlimited text and internet @ £15 pm. After hanging up the phone I received a SMS with the business information requested and the O2 offer with URL.

Couple of problems 1) the URL leads to a non-mobile friendly web page, which is a bit of a let down 2) the URL was formatted incorrectly so it didn’t go to the correct page at first.

Will it be popular? Possibly, they’ll need some heavy marketing, my first move would be to get featured on Money Saving Expert. They love this sort of stuff.

My question is that if you’re savvy enough to find out and use this service, wouldn’t you also know about using Google or Yell on your mobile for free? Especially when this service isn’t much quicker than using your mobile browser.

Would be great to see some ads based around the user location too.

[Via Guardian]