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Phone Numbers

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What Are Vanity Numbers?

Vanity numbers are telephone numbers which also spell something on the phone keypad. Vanity numbers share one important property with vanity license plates: they are much easier to remember than their just-as-unique but random-looking non-vanity cousins.

Plain License Plate

Plain License Plate

Vanity License Plate

Vanity License Plate

1 800 265 5328

Plain Phone Number


Vanity Phone Number

There are two reasons for this:

  1. you get to use the part of your brain that recognizes word shapes instead of having to piece together individual letters
  2. one or two words are easier to remember than many random letters or digits, especially if those words have some sort of significance to you

However, there are some important differences between what motivates somebody to get vanity license plates and what motivates somebody to get a vanity phone number (other than vanity, of course). Vanity phone numbers are used because they are easy to remember. Vanity license plates do have the same quality, but giving other motorists the improved ability to remember your license plate is rarely desirable. Would a bank robber chose to use a get-away vehicle with a vanity plate such as "GOTCASH"? No, they would chose a license plate like "IZJ317", preferably one covered in dust. Or was that "IJZ371"? Sorry, officer, I cant remember for sure...

When somebody goes through the trouble of disseminating information, they usually want that information to be received, understood, and probably retained (the probably most infamous exception to this rule being those health warnings on cigarette packs). This is especially true of telephone numbers. When you go through the trouble of giving out your telephone number verbally face to face, on a napkin, over the phone, over the radio, on a business card, or in a marketing brochure or advertisement, it is usally because you want to be called or because you need to be reachable through that phone number.

The phone number IS the way to contact you. Make it easy to remember the phone number and you will increase the probability of getting the call when it matters.

Who Cares?

The world around us is full of symbolic marketing messages: brands, logos, jingles, constantly competing with each other for our limited brain space, trying to implant themselves in the recesses of our minds, displacing the competition. This is where vanity numbers can give you the edge over the competition. If you need a product or service and a telephone is right in front of you, there are several vendors to choose from, but you only remember the telephone number for one of them -- who are you going to call (first)?

Simply put, you can either spend twice as much on advertising to make your phone number stick, or you can chose a number that is twice as memorable.

On the other hand, maybe you just really really care about getting that phone call for very personal reasons. You would want your firstborn to remember YOUR phone number (as well as their own name) in case they get lost or stranded somewhere. Here, your number may be "1-888-4RACHEL", and in your child's head this number is competing for brain-space with Elmo's favourite food. This is where personal vanity numbers can also help.

Most uses are somewhere in-between. Maybe you just care about keeping your customers happy or your employees and family members safe by giving them a number to call from the road which they do not need to write down.

Last updated Tuesday December 11 2012
For more info contact Zeebar Technology Services, Inc..
(C) Copyright 1996-2006 by Helmut Hissen and Zeebar Technology Services, Inc.
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Zeebar Technology Services, Inc