A good phone number is simple to remember, but not easy to come by. Until now-ePhoneNumbers is a newly launched public company that will sell you a phone number of your choice. The better the number, the higher the price.
At ephonenumbers.net, the company offers more than 750,000 numbers in 250 area codes, whether for businesses and marketers wanting brand-recognizable numbers or consumers wanting more memorable digits.
Do you want, say, 867-5309?
"Oh yeah, that's one of the requests," said Michael Davis, vice president of marketing. "But that's not one of the largest requests-anything with the more zeroes in it, the better."
Davis said research shows consumers retain their phone numbers in excess of seven years, and they deserve the right to choose their numbers, similar to selecting their service provider.
Businesses buying numbers in bulk are eligible for discounts, and prices range from $30 for (718) 406-0408-by no means terrible-to $275 for a more easily burned-in-the-brain (553) 553-3333.
ePhoneNumbers can also accommodate special requests. "Yesterday we had someone who wanted a number that ended in CASH. Or people want their names-ERIC, or something."
The numbers can be ported anywhere, Davis said, though if you're porting it to a land line, the area code must comply with the area, and if you're porting to VOIP (voice over IP), the number must be registered with e911.
While ePhoneNumbers can create the appearance that you live or work elsewhere, the company calls itself community-minded. It donates 10 percent of all its pretax gross profits to one of five charitable organizations. Customers nominate charities for the top five, and the one with the most customer votes wins the donation.
During a beta phase, in which ePhoneNumbers connected more than 2,000 customers with more than 3,000 local and toll-free numbers, the five chosen charities were Autism Speaks, ASPCA (SPCA of America), Lance Armstrong Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The organization with the most votes by the end of June will be awarded the donation, the company said.