Wednesday, July 15, 2009

118 800 – the exploitative company that leaves really nice comments on your blog posts

Anyone who reads my rants will remember my posting a few days back where I was pointing out that their company are a bunch of shysters making money out of your private number. OK, they don’t give your number to people, no, they SMS you the contact details of the person who made the enquiry!!! Apart from being an utterly pathetic sop to privacy, this business idea has several flaws:

  • While most people hate cold calling, they also don’t like receiving spam texts either, and will make themselves X-directory as soon as they receive anything from 118800 (don’t forget, kids, 118800’s website is permanently down right now and their x-directory service is offline so keep trying until they’re back up – don’t lose interest, that’s what they want you to do)
  • You know what your friends’ mobile numbers are, or you ask them for their number to put on your phone – the whole concept of a mobile phone directory enquiries is utterly last millennium, and only really applied to landlines anyway. Who is going to ring 118 800 to catch up with someone they haven’t seen for years???
  • They don’t have up to date lists. All the major UK mobile operators told them to p!ss off in no uncertain terms. 118800s response? They threatened to enact some legislation which apparently gives directory enquiries companies legal rights to lists of subscribers. Well done to the UK mobile companies for standing up to them and telling them that they didn’t think their subscribers would want their numbers given to 118800. They are right. In the end, 118800 was forced to buy lists from market research companies. So they’re starting with bad data, which will dwindle as millions ask to be made x-directory.
  • As millions apply to be made x-directory, the service will become less and less useful and not worth the money. So nobody will be calling them anyway.

These are further points garnered from some excellent thoughts from friends and colleagues.

However - my original post seems to have been picked up by an employee of 118800! How nice! You’d think they’d be more concerned with trying to get their pathetic website up and running so we can all apply to be made x-directory, wouldn’t you? But no! This comment appeared on my last 118800 rant…

Hello, Joe from here.
Our service on 118 800 and was being tested in June. There are now developments we want to make to improve the service for our customers. But due to the high levels of enquiries we are getting, we are simply not able to complete the technical work required whilst the service is live. We are sorry for inconvenience and will be up and running again as soon as possible.
Just to reassure you that we’ll never actually give out anyone’s personal details. When you search on, we’ll send an SMS message to the person you’re looking for, giving them your contacts details and it is then up to you if you wish to call them back or not.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us on

I do love the stipulation that high levels of enquiries are keeping them offline. “We are sorry for the inconvenience!” – if you’d read my post, Joe-Bot, you’d have noticed I think you should be offline permanently.

And my only concern at this time is with the poor bastards who have backed this company with capital. You won’t be seeing any return dudes, this one was a turkey from the start. Who thought this could work???

No comments: