The AT&T service is supported by advertising; when callers dial into the service, they're asked what category of business they want. A query for flowers, for instance, generates numbers for nearby florists. "People want information in a variety of ways, and making 1-800-YellowPages available nationally is an important step in providing to not only advertisers but also consumers, a wide range of choices for finding that they need," said David S. Huntley, senior VP at AT&T customer information services, in a statement.
Local and national advertisers are given various options to reach consumers through the service, AT&T said, noting that it publishes more than 1,250 Yellow Pages directories annually. The company added that more than 1 billion local searches were recorded by its YellowPages.com network in 2006.
Free directory calling services are rapidly replacing paid directory assistance offerings, which sometimes charge $3 and up for a single query.
The services run the gamut from startup efforts like 1-800-FREE-411 to a more complex play from Tellme Networks that features different ways for callers to obtain phone numbers. By calling 1-800-555-TELL, or texting TELLM, callers can obtain phone numbers.
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