Have you received text messages from 45751 - a "premium" text message service known as Soylent Black? If so, you may be wondering what this service is all about and why they are texting you.
Soylent Black, which can be also be found at soylentblack.net, is a run-of-the-mill “premium” text messaging service that charges $3.99 a month for “movie alerts.” The website claims that it is run by Black Soil, LLC. A whois record of the website shows that it was created on April 15, 2010. Or, as the website claims:
Get the skinny on what is going on in Hollywood! Get your Soylent Black text alerts every day, just $3.99/month for a recurring monthly subscription.
These “premium” text messaging services seem to exist for the sole reason charging a subscription for things you can get online for free. Most of these types of services rely on customers not realizing that they’ve even signed up. I’ve heard stories of customers tracing back a year or more of charges by these services. Modern phone bills are so lengthy that most people don’t bother looking at them closely. It’s not uncommon for phone bills to reach 100 pages, and such charges can be hard to locate.
Soylent Black, to their credit, does list an 800 customer service number, which is 1-800-575-4045, and an email contact of firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s unclear how responsive these contact methods are.
Personally, this author finds these types of services to be a waste of money at best. It’s hard to fathom that a text messaging service would be any faster, accurate, or more detailed with “what’s going on in Hollywood” than Twitter or even just TMZ – both of which are free.
The best option is to call your carrier and request that they block all such text subscriptions. This will avoid any rogue charges or accidental subscriptions. I’ve found that most people have never wanted these types of services, so blocking them is rarely an issue.
It should be noted that short code 45751 appears to have belonged to a “hip hop” alerts service in 2011.
What is your opinion?
We want your input. Have you used Soylent Black – either on purpose or by accident? Tells us about your experience with it, if you found it useful, or if you feel you were subscribed to it without your permission.
Here are a few other text services we’ve discussed recently: