Monday, June 27, 2005

More power to you

Email may be broken in many ways as a communication tool, but it still works well enough to have some startling consequences. Consumer revolt by viral email campaign is an area of great interest for me, so I was intrigued to see this message, forwarded to me a moment ago by my boss, who had received it as part of a long chain, suggesting it is making its way to every inbox in the UK:

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From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 5:48 PM
Subject: Telephone Rip off

Calls to numbers commencing 0845 and 0870 incur premium rate charges of up to 10p/minute. This invisible "profit" is shared between BT and the owner of the number. To avoid this rip off, do the following:

Visit and click on the search link. This will invite you to either enter the 0870 or 0845 number you are trying to avoid or to enter the name of the company you are calling. In most cases, it will give you an alternative national rate number or even a freephone number to use instead.

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Martin ranted about this issue back in October, and even pointed to an entry on the Say No to 0870 forums which itself pointed to minutes of an OFCOM meeting suggesting a significant EBIT contribution from these so-called "number translation services". Now it looks like the consumer is spreading the word.

ASIDE: It's interesting to look at the absurdity of Google ads in this context. The homepage for the anti-0870 movement advertises, what else, 0870 numbers and what they can do for you.

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