Let your fingers do the spelling

Phone names have been proved to boost advertising response rates but buying or licensing a a good one these days doesn’t come cheap.

Phone names seems like such a quaint business in 2011. After all, Americans have been able to tap into the name of the business they want to Contact un their alpha-numeric keypads for more than 40 years.

Yet there’s nothing old-fashioned about the economics. The phone number 1800 356 9377 which just happens to spell 1800 FLOWERS – was valued at $US104 million ($98.4 million) on the US balance sheet three years ago. That puts to shame the highest sum paid for an internet domain name,  $US13 million for sex.com last October.

In Australia, the situation is almost identical, except 13 or 1300 are the prefixes we use for local rate calls with a phone name attached. 1300 FLOWERS was bought for more than $2 million in 2007, yet flowers.com.au fetched only $153,000 and that was at the height of the tech boom.

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1300 FACTS

  • Roy Morgan research found a radio ad using a phone name had three times the response of the same ad with a phone number.
  • They’re not cheap. Licensing a generic name such as 13 HIRE can cost up to $5000 a month. There will be only one owner of the number you really want, so shopping around is not an option.
  • The owners of 13 TAXI have been offered $6 million-plus for the phone word. It’s not currently for sale.
  • Phone names work best when supported by advertising