The 411 on Phone Ads

Following in Google’s gargantuan footsteps, a company called 1-800-Free-411 has developed an innovative new model for delivering ads.  Unlike other directory assistance options, the company charges no fee to find the number you need.  However, if you request the number for a hardware store or an Italian restaurant, you’ll need to listen to a paid ad for a rival business (complete with the option to be immediately connected to that business) before getting the number your asked for.  It’s a pay-for-results arrangement, with a cost to the advertiser of $2 to $10 for every caller who gets switched to their business.