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.