I love reading subway adverts in New York, but the London Tube has better ones. Here’s my favorite find: a information company called Texperts. What a fabulous name! Here, every advert says something along the lines of, ‘Text [this number] to sign up, protest, or whatever.’ The idea of Texperts is that you send your question via SMS and they respond, charging a pound for the answer. Unfortunately it didn’t work when I tried (“Why did ioc give olymics 2 china in spite of infrastructure problems, human rights, etc?”). I got this response, “Requested SMS services not available for now on this number, please try again later.” I will try again and report. As you can see, I’m asking a question that Berkshire’s publications, and experts, could answer.
We believe that â€œmobile searchâ€ in its current form is fundamentally flawed. People need answers and information, not search results and banter. Thatâ€™s why (on a wing and a prayer!) we created the â€œmobile findâ€ sector way back in August 2003: to provide a smart, serious, and useful service. The Texperts provide intelligent answers to any question, and our service is not a gimmick – we genuinely want to help people and become part of their everyday lives. The value of our service lies in understanding peopleâ€™s needs, and then serving them brilliantly. Only real people can do this – not complex algorithms or novelty services.
I would love to know how this model fits with libraries’ 24/7 reference programs.