Ed Mance operates PhoneNumberGuy.com. He started the company when he was looking to set up another business and wanted to get a set of phone numbers that shared a common prefix. He couldn’t find any. Once he figured out how to get groups of phone numbers, a quest that took him several years, he found a marketplace waiting. At first he sold numbers on eBay; now he sells them by the thousands each year from his website.
Mance doesn’t buy phone numbers from random people. He usually buys in bulk from companies that don’t need them any more. Mance offered three reasons why. He used to buy phone numbers, but was burned by people who didn’t actually transfer the number. The numbers could be stolen. Or the phone number could get too many unwanted calls. “The last one I bought on spec,” he said, “they told me it gets 1 to 2 errant calls a week. As soon as I plugged it in, the phone started ringing off the hook.”
EBay, he noted, stopped allowing phone number sales several years ago due to similar complaints.
A scan of the phone numbers offered for sale at Mance’s site shows the kinds of numbers that are interesting to people. Many of the numbers have the last four digits as a multiple of a thousand. Others are repeated digits or sequences.
Many spell out words. “HURT and PAIN are the two most in-demand numbers,” Mance said, since they’re desired by personal injury attorneys. Other popular words include LAWYERS, LIMO, ROOF, HOME, CARS, and CASH.
Mance’s phone numbers usually go for $299 to $799. Mance’s biggest sale was a “nine-of-a-kind” phone number — (XYX) XXX-XXXX. He sold that for $95,000.
Original article: Philip Bump-The Washington Post
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