Controversial mobile phone directory service 118800.co.uk has responded to PC Advisor reader criticism about its plan to include personal mobile phone numbers in a commercial searchable database.
In a comment on the article "Mobile phone directory site breaks down" spokesperson "Joe" from 118800.co.uk stated:
"Just to reassure you that we'll never actually give out anyone's personal details.
"When you search on 118800.co.uk, we'll send an SMS message to the person you're looking for, giving them your contacts details and it is then up to you if you wish to call them back or not.
"The service aims to connect people that know each other's name and address. We don't give out numbers to anyone, especially sales organisations.
"Our service on 118 800 and www.118800.co.uk was being tested in June. There are now developments we want to make to improve the service for our customers.
"But due to the high levels of enquiries we are getting, we are simply not able to complete the technical work required whilst the service is live.
"We are sorry for inconvenience and will be up and running again as soon as possible.
"If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us using the feedback form on our site."
Owing to the surge in traffic caused by a viral campaign sent around UK businesses encouraging mobile phone users to remove their numbers from the directory, the 118800 website broke down. It remains out of service, while the company is "undertaking some major developments to our 'Beta Service' to improve the experience for our customers."
The website currently states that: "All ex-directory requests made by people in our directory to date are being processed. There will be no need to resend these requests. And we will take further ex-directory requests when the service resumes. We will not be taking ex-directory requests by phone or text whilst the service is unavailable."
Last week emails circulated round UK offices suggesting that anyone who doesn't want their mobile phone number to be included in a commercial database visit the website of the company setting up the directory and enter their mobile phone number.
However, some sources have suggested that the email itself is part of a campaign to get people to enter their mobile phone number at the site, thereby confirming the number is active.
The 118 800 service will sell its database to businesses and marketeers that want to be able to contact potential customers. Consumers will be able to find friends and colleagues via the service by entering the person's name and location and by paying a fee of £1. The service will then connect them to the person, but will not divulge the mobile phone number.
The company that runs 118 800, Connectivity, says it will broker the call but will ask the person receiving the call if they are happy to accept the call.
Even so, many consumers are unhappy that their private mobile phone numbers will be traded in this manner - hence the apparent surge in traffic to the site to go ex-directory.
In another story we posted earlier this week about the continued outage of the 118 800 service, we outlined that Ofcom says the matters out of its remit and that complaints should be directed to Phone Pay Plus,, which regulates premium rate call services.