Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mobile Directory Services: I Crap On Thee


I called a vacation rental property owner's phone number yesterday - from my cell phone - and got voicemail. Before I could leave a message I was asked if I wanted the business' contact info SMS'd to me. I hung up at that point, but have since received the following SMS message:

"Reply Y now to get info on the # you arehttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif trying to reach. Locator Svc $9.99/month +std msg fees for 20 lookups/month. Support/Terms? www.sms181.com"

I know this is opt-in and clearly described, but it still strikes me as one of the most underhanded money-grabs in the world of search/navigation/directory services.

A) If I don't ask for the service, don't offer it to me
B) If I *did* want the business' info, why should I have to opt in to a subscription service to get it?

If you visit the website behind this spineless jellyfish of a business practice - www.sms181.com - you will have no luck finding any information on who runs this company. This, of course, earns the unknown proprietor of SMS181 the PooPoo Grande in abscentia, from one of my favorite sites, DogDoo.com.

Until governments force mobile operators to shun unwanted subscription-based partners, use of SMS as a search & directory service will not live up to its potential.

June 19, 2008 update: Someone from the FTC hit this post after searching "SMS181.com locator" on Google, so hopefully they're on it...

6 Comments:

Blogger mylifeatfullspeed said...

http://www.aboutus.org/Sms181.com

http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=sms181.com&prog_id=godaddy

11:21 AM

 
Blogger jeffomatic said...

SMS181,com snuck up and pulled a tenner out of my wallet.. They claimed I dialed in and subscribed. Not true!!! I called them and said BBB, going to tell AT&T, etc. and they claimed they will send a refund. We'll see. WTF I got a GoPhone so I would have control of charges! Now this crap!

1:51 PM

 
Blogger Diana said...

I just got a text from them saying if I want to OPT-OUT, I have to send a STOP reply message. I never even signed up!!!!!!!!! This is sneaky unethical business practices and they should not be able to just bill you for things you don't want. WTF!!!!!!!

10:34 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

I have an iphone and some how signed up for this ripoff, it was noticed after 6 months of charges.
So I called at&t and they took all the charges off so fast I was amazed. They new immediately what the deal was, but were not really talking. For all the good it will do I told them this is a ripoff and you are part of it. I then had to call again the next month as the charge was still there. These people should go to jail.

8:00 PM

 
Blogger Richard said...

I just love the way you crappy managed to show your feelings about this issue! I would like you to write a blog related to Viagra Online Without Prescription in order to laugh a lot, I am sure I would!
Anyway, Greatly done work

8:17 AM

 
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5:21 AM

 

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