Shared Use

Welcome to the World of Toll Free Vanity Numbers

  In today's markets where Toll Free Numbers have become an absolute necessity for every customer oriented business, there is one very special group of Numbers. Many retailers have invested huge sums of money in advertising to help familiarize the public with their 800 telephone numbers.

  Vanity Numbers are numbers which spell out words by reference to the letters on a telephone keypad. Businesses which use toll free vanity numbers can benefit tremendously from this familiarity because consumers will call the familiar number before even reaching for the yellow pages. These powerful marketing tools can increase the response rate and marketing power of any business and literally transform an industry.

What is Shared Use and how can it help me?

  Most people usually think of a phone number as ringing to only one location, but new technology now allows you to reach the nearest local office of a large organization or the nearest participating business with one phone number. So when you call 1-800-ALARM-IT whether you realize it or not, you are being connected to a local alarm company that covers your local area and if you call from a different part of the country, you will be connected to the alarm company for that area. So just as a large company can now use this to automatically send callers to the nearest office, smaller companies can now utilize a powerful vanity number in their own local advertising area and receive all calls from their local area directly, while calls from outside their area will be routed to other companies in their respective areas.

If you think of vanity numbers as mere novelties, consider the wake-up call experienced by floral delivery leader FTD. Since 1987, upstart 1-800-FLOWERS has grown to over $300 million in sales. According to a Wall Street Journal article, FTD is losing millions trying to break into the 800 delivery service with 1-800 SEND FTD. And now 1-800 FLOWERS is adding retail stores, which will, of course, be named for their unforgettable contact number.


"Our easy to remember number has given us immense advantages."
Jim McCann, President of 1-800-FLOWERS, a $300 million per year company.

"Your toll-free number is actually a commercial: the shortest and most effective advertisement for your company. It is not merely a telephone number. A toll-free number provides the potential consumer with significant pieces of information.

Here's what it tells your customer:"

What products do you sell?
Our vanity number shows that we sell mattresses.

What is your brand identification?
Your company will become known by its 800 number.

What is your "address"?
Your 800 number.

How much is going to cost the customer to get to your "store"?
Nothing. A 1-800 number is a toll-free call.

Napoleon Barragan,  President of 1-800-MATTRESS TM "Dial-A-Mattress"
A $100 million per year company
Barragan, Napoleon How to Get Rich With An 1-800 Number
New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 1997.