All about ABTolls
ABTolls was the first crowdsourced telecom consumer information rates and fees database, launched in 1997. The creators of
ABTolls were sitting around a fine restaurant table one evening talking about the state of the telecommunications industry. They realized that although the internet was being touted as the bridge to the 21st century, and all that jazz, that it could also serve
as a wonderful information source for the plain old telephone industry (POTI?). They batted around the idea for a bit and decided to create a central location for information on the telecommunications industry. It would be a place to find information on the long
distance carriers, find out about the best rate plans (we all know that rate plans were way too complex for consumers to track!), and find some interesting tidbits about the industry. They encouraged users to share information about the industry, rates, fees, and
history. The co-founders were of the mindset that the true benefit of the internet is establishing communication between people with like interests the world over. Having worked with the internet in academic settings well before its commercialization they held true
to the "old internet" mindset of helping others. They remained strongly opposed to commercial relationships tainting information on a website and did not accept any offers to "play" with the listings to favor certain companies over others.
ABTolls listed the rates of all the responsible plans the co-founders heard about from the thousands of users by digging into the details of the plans and unifying them to the true underlying rate in a fully comparable database. ABTolls gathered information from
all the users and additional industry and regulatory contacts in the telecom world. The ABTolls community shared information about the various long distance plans available out there. ABTolls checked out each and every plan and turned to the providing companies
directly for more details and all the nitty gritty stuff. User input and contributions were critical in helping maintain the accuracy of the database. What has now become known in the modern day as crowdsourcing is what ABTolls was doing before the creation of the
The information was gathered and standardized following a set of rules:
You can see some
previous versions of ABTolls with this ABTolls history archive.
You can see some previous versions of ABTolls with this ABTolls history archive.