Frequently Asked Questions About PhoneSpell

Like everything else on the internet, PhoneSpell has generated its share of questions and complaints.
Here we answer the more common questions and respond to the more common complaints.

Has PhoneSpell won any awards or honors?

Yes, PhoneSpell has won awards and honors too numerous to mention. Among the ones we are most proud of, PhoneSpell was featured as a "Cool Site" both by Yahoo! and Netscape and was written up in Newsweek. PhoneSpell has also received favorable reviews in several newspapers, e-zines, and radio shows. Of course the greatest honor is the over 3,500 web sites that have chosen to feature a link to PhoneSpell on their site.

Why was PhoneSpell created?

The basic software behind PhoneSpell was created in 1995 to help the author pick some memorable local phone numbers for his new apartment. (Back then the phone company would let you pick your own number.) Having done that for himself and having clients who were interested in taking advantage of this new thing they heard about called "the internet," the web site was created to research and demonstrate the possibilities of this new technology (with great success). Over the years the web site has grown significantly from there and taken on something of a life of its own. We keep trying to add value and make money without charging for our service or covering our site with ads. We are committed to keeping PhoneSpell useful and fun and easy and free to use.

I'm worried about privacy. What information do you collect and what do you do with it?

PhoneSpell collects the standard information that web servers collect: for each request PhoneSpell's web server logs the time and date of the request, the IP address of the requestor, what was requested, the "user agent string" (which identifies the type of browser you are using), the "referrer" field (generally the URL of the page that had the link you just clicked on), and some information about how the server responded to the request. Virtually every web server on the internet records exactly this information. This information is used to determine usage patterns, identify problems, etc. PhoneSpell's web presence provider has access to this same information (in fact they give it to PhoneSpell), but otherwise PhoneSpell does not share this information with anyone.

PhoneSpell also logs every mnemonic search requested along with the IP of the requestor and the status of the result. This information is used to make sure that the service is working as intended and to see how people are using it. Nearly all of PhoneSpell's features are a direct result of reviewing these logs and discovering in them types of requests people were making that PhoneSpell did not handle well.

Except for the email you send to PhoneSpell, PhoneSpell does not get or keep any information that identifies individuals. Although PhoneSpell keeps the phone numbers you request searches on, often those do not have area codes and even if they did no one but you knows if those phone numbers are yours, your sweetheart's, you mother's, or your favorite pizza joint's.

PhoneSpell's data sharing policies are defined in our Terms of Service, but basically we do not directly share any information with third parties beyond the search term you entered, and then only to show advertising relevant to the search term itself, nor have we used it to contact anyone who has not sent us email. PhoneSpell does not know or care to know the identity of its users who wish to remain anonymous unless they try to abuse the service. PhoneSpell does not use the numbers entered into the web site for telemarketing purposes. PhoneSpell does not send unsolicited email (spam), does not authorize anyone to include information about PhoneSpell in an unsolicited mailing, and supports CAUCE in their efforts to restrict unsolicited email.

May I link to PhoneSpell from my site?

Glad you asked! You are welcome to put a link to PhoneSpell's main page, anywhere you like, as long as there is no "pornographic or patently offensive" material on your site and, when the user follows your link to PhoneSpell, PhoneSpell appears in the full browser window (i.e. do not "frame" PhoneSpell). Please do not link to any other part of the site, as things change around quite a bit. Please let us know the URL of the page you are going to put the PhoneSpell link onto so we can add it to our scrapbook.

Please don't use the PhoneSpell logo, as it is too big and not really appropriate to a link. We have a special link-friendly logo you can use but we want to talk to you a bit so we can keep track of who is using it and make sure that we give you the right one. Drop us a line and tell us a little bit about your site.

You may not submit searches from a form on your site.

Is PhoneSpell for sale?

PhoneSpell is not a simple software program you can run on your Mac or PC, nor is there enough of a market for it to be worth making such a program. So if the question is about buying a copy to run at home, the answer is no, such software doesn't exist. Since PhoneSpell is free to use and always available, there is not much point in selling copies of it anyway.

We are open to considering offers for the site itself, but we are not trying to sell the site at this time. If you have a six-figure sum that you seriously want to spend on PhoneSpell, please contact us.

How is PhoneSpell supported?

Over the years PhoneSpell has been supported by volunteers, cash contributions, and sponsors. Currently we are reviewing everything we've learned so far and using that to guide us into a reorganized, self-sustaining enterprise that still provides the same great, free service that PhoneSpell always has.

How can I help?

Spread the word! The more people that know about PhoneSpell, the more we can provide them with great, free services and the more we can justify the time, effort, and money spent on bringing you even more.

Can I advertise on PhoneSpell?

Yes. Contact us if you want to know more.

Where can I write with other comments or questions?

We hope this FAQ has all the information you could possibly want about PhoneSpell. However, if it does not, or if you have a comment or suggestion you want to make, you can send it to us and we promise someone will read it, although we do not promise a reply or even an acknowldegement due to our limited resources.

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