118 800 – A FAILED and hateful piece of opportunism

I was in the car the other day when I heard about a new service, which was effectively a directory enquiries for mobile numbers in the UK under the name (or number) of 118 800. It claimed to have some 15 million numbers in its database, which whilst not all of the mobiles is an awful lot.

The BBC interviewers were giving Shona Forster, 118 800’s Marketing Director a deserved hard time about the fact that you had to go onto their site to get yourself removed from the database. She was literally squirming! All the callers and texters were unanimous in hating this intrusion.

Connectivity, who own the 118 800 service said they had bought the numbers on the open market from people who had (perhaps accidentally) opted in to allow their number to be shared with ‘third party partners’.

Well, I’m sure we’ve all added our mobile numbers to the odd form over the years and few of us would want that number published – or worse still, sold – to the world.

Well, I just checked back and it seems that its now been suspended as a service. According to an article in the Inquirer it would appear that the system has crashed. Not through the huge demand for the service, but because of the huge demand for people to get themselves off their database!

Good.

Brands have to be built on selling the truth. On real and sustainable values, not nasty and slightly sneaky ones like this.

I wish it every possible failure.

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2 thoughts on “118 800 – A FAILED and hateful piece of opportunism

  1. Hi John, im Neil and I work for 118800.co.uk

    Thanks for mentioning us.

    Just so you know 118800.co.uk was being tested throughout June. We now want to make improvements to the service for our customers and we are unable to complete the technical work required whilst the service is live. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and we will be up and running again as soon as possible.

    We don’t give out mobile numbers. 118800 is a service for connecting people that know each other’s name and address. In the majority of cases it will be a friend or colleague who has lost your number or doesn’t have it on them and needs to get in touch. If you are contacted it will be by 118800 calling to announce the name of that person, or sending a text message with the name and number of the person trying to get in touch. It will then be up to you whether you want to speak to them or not.

    For more information please visit our website on http://www.118800.co.uk

    1. Its quite hard to believe that it was being ‘tested’ Perhaps I’m being cynical, but it looks to me that the business model has had to be radically reviewed and revised based on the huge amount of negative feedback you received over the first few days of pre publicity.

      It’s even funnier how the system crashed when there was such a huge influx of people trying to get onto the site to remove their names from your database.

      I don’t believe a word you’re saying and neither do you. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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