October 8th, 2007

Need a phone number? Listen to ad and get it for free

By Alejandro Bodipo-Memba
Detroit Free Press

AT&T Inc. said it has introduced a free directory assistance service for all of Michigan, effective immediately.

The San Antonio-based telecommunications giant said its new 1-800-YellowPages service will give customers access to business listings for free after listening to an advertising spot prior to receiving the information.

Both landline and wireless callers who dial 800-935-5697 from within Michigan will hear short audio ads before getting the business number. In some cases, the caller can be directly connected to the business they are trying to reach.

“AT&T 1-800-YellowPages works like an audio Yellow Pages to give callers free access to local and nationwide business listing information from any phone, 24/7,” David S. Huntley, senior vice president of AT&T Customer Information Services, said in a statement.

“We are excited about expanding this service to residents in Michigan. For area businesses, we’re helping them reach potential customers who are in need of a service and are ready to make a purchasing decision.”

The Michigan launch of 1-800-YellowPages followed a testing phase that took place in Bakersfield, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio, and Oklahoma City.

Officials at AT&T said callers requesting a listing for a specific business will hear an ad for that business before the number is given. This provides businesses an opportunity to promote specific offers and services.

When a caller requests a listing for the name of a business that has no associated Requested Listing Ad and is similar in type (category) to another business that has an active Redirect Ad, the Redirect Ad will play first.

The caller will be asked whether he or she would like the number of the advertised business before the number of the requested listing is provided. The Redirect Ad is designed to encourage the caller to select the advertiser’s company instead of the originally requested listing.

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