Mobile directory downed by demand

July 13, 2009 | 12:34

Tags: #denial-of-service #website

Companies: #118800

A controversial directory of mobile 'phone numbers has crashed after being overwhelmed by requests for ex-directory status.

The site, 118800.co.uk, promised to bring directory enquiry services that have long been available for landline numbers to mobile 'phones: simply ring the number and give a name and address in order to get a direct line to the person you'd like to talk to.

As there is currently no central database of mobile numbers – unlike landlines – the company purchased marketing lists with up to 16 million mobile numbers in order to add them to their database. This en-mass adding of numbers raised a not-inconsiderable outpouring of privacy concerns from mobile users across the country.

Not wanting to get into hot water over privacy issues, the company offered a way for anyone who didn't wish to be listed on the service to opt-out: a simple form on their website which sent a code via text message to confirm the de-listing request.

Sadly for 118800, that's where it all appears to have gone wrong: according to V3.co.uk the number of requests to be delisted were so numerous that the site has been knocked offline due to demand.

Visitors to the site are currently presented with a message saying that the “service [is] suspended while we make improvements.

The company is keen to re-assure users that “all ex-directory requests made by people in our directory are being processed” and that “there will be no need to resend these requests.” Furthermore, while the site is currently not taking any additional requests for delisting – and nor will the company accept requests via text or voice – 118800 promises to “take further ex-directory requests when the service resumes.

Is 118800 skating on thin ice by offering mobile 'phone directory services, or does the company simply need to beef up its infrastructure to ensure that delisting requests are dealt with rapidly? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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