Following in the footsteps of Jingle Nets’ 1-800-Free411 (and failed services, like inFreeDA), Verizon LiveSource has launched a trial of a free DA service in Boston and Denver. The ad-supported service boasts the catchy number: 800-THE-INFO. It uses Call Genie‘s automated DA system, like Yellow Pages Group and Telus in Canada, and Jingle in the U.S. It also uses Nuance for speech recognition.
Verizon expects the service to benefit from a database that is “updated daily” and “the largest team of trained operators in the world.” It is partnered with Idearc Media, which was recently spun off from Verizon, to upsell its roster of Superpages advertisers. Verizon will also use Superpages content.
While initially limited to business listings, a press release said the service may eventually be expanded to include weather, sports scores and restaurant reviews. For Verizon, the question is to what extent free DA will cannibalize paid DA, and/or whether it will add new users. If it keeps users from straying to other free services, a little cannibalism might be acceptable.