Where Are All The 1(800) Numbers Going?

Insiders are calling it the perfect storm. Toll free phone service has hit all all-time high in popularity. The 800 numbers are so successful that once obtained, they are rarely retired. And the federal government has not released reserved numbers intended to alleviate the shortage. Supplies will soon run out.

So, where are all the 800 numbers going? Industry experts say toll free service is now a staple of any type of business. Small business owners, following the lead of the CEO’s of nearly half the Fortune 500 companies, are securing toll free vanity phone numbers as a strategic marketing tool. Personal use of toll free numbers has skyrocketed as parents secure an 800 number to stay in touch with their teens, college-aged children, and elderly parents.

More than two-thirds of the available supply of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are taken and millions of new subscribers are registering every year. Business owners who wait much longer to obtain a number might find themselves out of luck. In a competitive market, a toll free number is a valuable commodity for every business.

Federal agencies have been cracking down on the illegal sale of 800 numbers and the hoarding, or stockpiling, of numbers by service providers and subscribers. This oversight is intended to help free up some of the numbers for new subscribers.

According to the FCC, toll free numbers “have proven successful for businesses and are increasingly popular for personal use.” Reports indicate that a toll free number listed in an ad can increase response by 600 percent and word of mouth referrals rise by 200 percent. With 98 percent of American adults regularly using toll free numbers, businesses securing an 800 number gain a strong competitive edge.

The popularity of the 1-800 number, introduced in the late 1960s, led the FCC to add the new pre-fixes 888 and 877 in the mid-1990s. When availability of those numbers became scarce in 2000, the 866 pre-fixes were added to overcome the shortage. Now, eight years later, the stockpile is once again low despite the recent mass deactivation of unused 800 numbers.

Experts say the demand drastically outweighs supply and advise that the only way to guarantee obtaining a toll free number is to get one immediately.

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55 Responses

  1. get one today

  2. […] Original post by smsgov […]

  3. I should get my 800 number then

  4. i did not know that

  5. holy schimolly

  6. they are going to hoarders, through brokers i think

  7. i got a toll free number from one of smsgov’s recommended companies

  8. So…lets all call the RIAA free 800# and then report minor piracy reports. Like things that can never be proven.

    Example: A friend of mine, I think he might have downloaded a copyrighted song at some point. His name? Tom Smith. I don’t know where he lives or anything. No I don’t know his phone number.

    Imagine them getting 20,000 of those calls.

    OR

    Is this weight watchers? No? Sorry wrong number.

  9. very insightful

  10. I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

  11. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

  12. I guess next we will have to hack the gibson.

  13. A little off-topic, but what is the fourth generation mentioned in the article? Looking at some of the cellphones in Japan, i’m wondering what further features they could throw in there…

  14. It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.

  15. He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches.

  16. Where can I find the number for Microsoft customer service?

  17. I hope my bizz turns fortune 500!

  18. I’d like to know which companies are hoarding numbers…

  19. Does anyone know how to get a hold of the FCC by phone?

  20. To Shawn Simmons below, why wouldn’t you want to show that you’re clever?

  21. Catchy headline – It’s like that song, “Where have all the cowboys gone.” I know, it’s a total girls song but I like it!

  22. He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches.

  23. HELLO – Sprint has starting doing this ages ago!!!!!!!!! With success!

  24. To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

  25. Someone needs to record it for the rest of us…

  26. Man, i hope it’s better than the voiceprint identification back in MacOS 9.

    That thing sucked.

  27. I use jott all the time, it is one of the best inventions out there.

  28. One thing you can give and still keep: my word.

  29. I once had to call eBay… what a nightmare. I wish I’d never found their number, as the “service” was so horrible and the experience even worse.

    Nonetheless, this is a great resource to have handy – I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

  30. I once had to call eBay… what a nightmare. I wish I’d never found their number, as the “service” was so horrible and the experience even worse.

    Nonetheless, this is a great resource to have handy – I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

  31. I use jott all the time, it is one of the best inventions out there.

  32. I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

  33. I should keep my words soft and sweet in case I have to eat them.

  34. Be of use, but don’t be used.

  35. It was about time! This is good news! Hopefully they’ll do the same with the others

  36. My name is Werner Brandes, my voice is my passport. Verify me.

  37. If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.

  38. Pressure makes diamonds.

  39. Why is abbreviation such a long word ?

  40. It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.

  41. I’m glad some of these truly buried numbers are published finally…

  42. My name is Werner Brandes, my voice is my passport. Verify me.

  43. I use jott all the time, it is one of the best inventions out there.

  44. Two things are infinite : the universe and human stupidity; I’m not sure about the universe.

  45. Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

  46. A little off-topic, but what is the fourth generation mentioned in the article? Looking at some of the cellphones in Japan, i’m wondering what further features they could throw in there…

  47. If Sallie Mae stops calling me by using #1… I will be lonely cause no one else calls me 😦 I refer to “Sallie” as my girlfriend… God, im pathetic..

  48. […] Toll Free Sales on the Up and Up Posted on December 5, 2010 by smsgov Federal agencies have been cracking down on the illegal sale of 800 numbers and the hoarding, or stockpiling, of numbers by service providers and subscribers. This oversight is intended to help free up some of the numbers for new subscribers. Get some additional information here. […]

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