Some people actually want wrong numbers

people who want wrong numbers

There are several companies that look for toll free numbers with misdials. Yes, they actually WANT wrong numbers. You can’t really predict wrong numbers very readily so people sometimes stumble onto a number that gets too many wrong numbers. We always try to help them minimize them or swap their number. But if they are interested, I figured I’d post something with a few people in case anyone wants to reach out to people who might be interested.


    Comments1 comment

    Can we tell how many wrong numbers a number will get?

    Every toll free number tends to get more wrong numbers than local numbers do, especially “800″s. That’s because there are so many of them advertised and used much more heavily than any local area code. There’s also no way to tell ahead of time how many wrong numbers a number will get. We can do some research to find out how long it’s been since a number was in active status for a regular phone company. But since wrong numbers can come from so many different sources, there’s really no way to predict that.


      Misdials can make you money!

      Misdials (a.k.a. wrong numbers) are often looked at as a problem but they can be turned into valuable numbers. A misdial is just a wrong number. A “misdial number? is a phone number that gets a lot of wrong numbers. There are actually several kinds of misdial numbers. There are also a lot more wrong numbers or misdials on the average for a toll free number than on the average local number. That’s because there are only slightly fewer toll free calls than local calls in most areas but people are dialing toll free area codes from over a hundred local area all over the country. There are roughly 200 local area codes and only 4 toll free area codes. They may not seem like that big of a deal, but misdials are actually one way to make money from a phone number.

      How would you like to get calls from people looking to order your product or service without any advertising at all. That’s what you can get with misdials. There may be hundreds or even thousands of people calling for your product or service, or a product or service similar to yours that you could sell to without any advertising costs at all. And when people are already calling for your service they may be ready to buy and may even be less price sensitive since they were already calling.

      You should look for misdials of your own number as well as misdials of your competition. I mentioned that there are several types of misdials. Let me explain them a little about each of them and you’ll probably realize yourself what opportunities may exist for your business.

        Comments4 comments

        Misdials with Qs, Zs, and Os

        Telephones designed less than 8-10 years ago have the Q on the 7 key and the Z on 9 key, but phone designed more than 8-10 years ago (even if they were built more recently) often don’t have a Q or Z at all and some even have them on the wrong key. When I first started in the vanity number business you had to avoid Zs and Qs all together. The first number I got with the Z was 1-800 PUZZLES and we put in small print underneath (hint: Z = 9) to tie the deficiency into the theme of the number. But now Zs and Qs are much more widely used and it’s basically just a footnote to consider. I admit that I’m a little surprised at how quickly they are now understood and can be used in most situations.

        1-800 QUALITY was recently acquired for $50,000. It definitely would have been worth more for someone like Quality Inns but it’s hard to make a company understand the value if they don’t “get it.?

        There is also a less common misdial possibility on the O key, as in MNO which would usually be the 6 key. Some people occasionally mistake the Zero key either because of the large 0 or because of the O in operator which is usually abbreviated OPER. Those are really the only misdials that I’ve ever seen become a consideration. I wouldn’t discount a good number simply because of potential misdials, but you should at least be aware of the potential. The Misdial only becomes more of an options in cases that involve really large amounts of advertising and sales calls for products or services that can be easily replicated to capitalize on the misdials. The most famous case was 1-800 FLOWERS. It had a lot of advertising and the wrong nus could easily be sold flowers from other sources.

          Comments2 comments

          Roll up Misdials

          Whenever you see a competitor using an 866 or 877 number check the 800 version of their number.Every time you see a competitor using an 888 or especially an 877 or 866 number, you should always jot down and pursue the 800 version of their number. People think of “800 Numbers? as the generic term and default name for the industry and will often remember the number but will wind up dialing 800 instead of 866 or 877 and even 888. I call this type of misdial “Roll Up? because they roll UP from the other area codes to the 800 version, but they don’t roll down from the 800 to any other area codes.

          The number of misdials will probably depending on the amount of and type of advertising they do, as well as the number itself, but it’s always worth checking. Roll ups can be one of the most common type of misdials. They are also a very subtle almost invisible marketing tool. The competition probably won’t realize for quite a while, that you are getting their calls until they mistakenly dial your number themselves. But just think about the devastating feeling you’ll give your competitor when they realize that you have a number similar to theirs and are probably getting customers from them. They won’t be able to prove how many calls or customers you’re getting and as long as you don’t mislead anyone you are always allowed to answer your phone and accept any orders which people want to place with you on it. So always look for the 800 version of your competitor’s number!

            Fat Finger Misdials

            This is probably the type of misdials people usually think of when they think of wrong numbers. They are often called “Fat Finger? because they are simple human error, caused by accidentally pressing a wrong key with your fat fingers. Make a list of all the numbers that are one digit away from yours. Add to it all of the numbers that have an extra stutter digit, that repeats one of the digits. If it’s a vanity number look for misspellings. Then check them all.

            Some companies think about misdials in the beginning but then move onto other things. Part of the trick with misdials is to keep watching this because if a small user gets a lot of wrong numbers they often discard their number leaving it available to anyone on their toes.You can check the misdials pretty much the same way you search for vanity numbers. First use the lookup tool at and then try dialing them. The biggest difference is that you don’t actually have to get the numbers to get the benefit from them. If they go to an active customer, say hello and introduce yourself. Find out how many people there answer the phones and how big they are. Ask them if they get many wrong numbers for the product or service you sell. It’s harder if the misdial goes to a really large company, but if you can make a friend and let them know your correct number they will often be happy to give out the “correct? number for you.

            I said, “make a friend? because they have to like you a little. They are going to get the wrong numbers anyway. It may actually take less time to give out the correct number than it would if they hang up and just call back again not mention that many people want to help you and the customer looking for you. So get the name or names of the people who answer the phones and send them pizza on a Friday and Christmas cards with several business cards that they can put up by the phone(s). Depending on the volume of misdials, this type of Gorilla Marketing could get you a steady stream of prospects at almost no cost. The odds are that nobody else ever thought of this so it doesn’t take much effort to go the extra mile and get those calls.

              Comments3 comments

              Out of business Misdials

              Businesses come and go every day. You’ve probably seen some of your competitors go out of business. Well they are almost certainly still getting calls that someone should get. So why not you.

              Every business advertises and many types of advertising such as yellow pages for example, last for an average of two years. So if a company spends just an average of $500 a month on advertising you could easily pick up $10,000 worth of advertising by just paying attention and grabbing the right number at the right time. It is probably easier for toll free numbers than local numbers since toll free numbers are portable and can be directed anywhere. Toll free numbers are also usually used by the larger companies but local numbers can also be remotely forwarded and with services like Vonage, local numbers can be accessed anywhere via the internet.

              Every business has repeat business and if they don’t want that business why let it go to waste. Make a list of all your competitor’s numbers and call them every couple months or so. You can also sign up for them on my Watch List which will let you know when a number goes to an intercept message which is often a prelude to the number becoming available. The Watch List is still under development but it’s an excellent tool to help keep track of numbers that you might like to get in the future if they become available.

                Directory Assistance Misdials

                Everyone can sign up for a free listing in the Internet 800 Directory at GoTollFree.comI’ve talked with businesses that generate several customers per day simply for the cost of listing their business with Toll Free Directory Assistance (which generally costs $10-15/month). It’s most effective for unusual company names. For hard to pronounce names register under multiple different names, some spelled phonetically as whatever you think a customer might ask for or an operator might hear. You may even be able to register for competitive names.

                You should also think about what city you are listed in. If there are multiple distributors for an organization listed, the operator will usually ask them either what department they want (if there are different departments listed) or they will ask them “in what city?” If the customer knows where the company is based they will often select the number located in that city. So you should try to get the city listed with directory assistance to be the city your organization is based in.

                TIP: The main Toll Free Directory Assistance is run by AT&T. Other companies will always charge you a monthly fee to be added, but AT&T won’t (although their toll free numbers generally have a fee of some kind). Smaller companies will sometimes list your name or address with directory assistance as something else though which can be an advantage which AT&T generally won’t.

                  Comments1 comment

                  Assumptive Misdials

                  My number 1-800 MARKETER also spells MARKET DAY and I get a number of calls for Market Day all the time, even though they never had or used that number. People often assume that a company will have their company name in an ‘800’. I helped a distributor for Trivita get the number 1-800 TRIVITA and a distributor for Sea Silver get the number 1-800 SEA SILVER. They both got thousands of dollars worth of calls from customers looking for the company as soon as they activated the number.

                  Even if it was never advertised or promoted, people looking for the company, hopefully to reorder, will often “Assume? that the company has that number. 1-800 CONTACTS received tens of thousands of dollars a month even without any advertising. So even though it may be hard to get your exact company or product name it can be very valuable!

                    Misspelled Vanity Names

                    This is pretty straight forward. Some names are just easier to spell than others. But no matter how easy a name is there’s always someone that’ll find a way to misspell it. You should avoid names that are exceptionally hard to spell, complicated or overly creative. Using one or two digits from the area code or abbreviating GREAT as GR8 for instance may seem like a good option, but they will cause more wrong numbers. So watch out for that and consider all the wrong number possibilities up front and monitor them.

                      Previous Customer Misdials

                      Most people tend to assume that the majority of wrong numbers come from previous customers. But I usually find that the majority of wrong numbers come from the other types
                      of misdials.Virtually every “800″ number has been issued and used before. Toll free customers also tend to have several times more use on average than local numbers since they are often used for higher volume applications. They’re usually larger companies advertising to a larger audience so some toll free numbers can have a much higher volume of wrong numbers. If you’re concerned, 866 from 877 numbers usually have a lot fewer wrong numbers because they don’t have as many large advertisers, they haven’t been around as long and there are more unused numbers.

                      Most people assume that the majority of wrong numbers come from previous customers, but in reality I usually find that the majority of wrong numbers come from the other types of misdials

                        Comments3 comments

                        How to deal with wrong numbers

                        If you wind up with a number with a lot of wrong numbers there are several things you can do to minimize them. You can block areas of the country that you don’t need calls from. If you don’t do business nationwide this can often eliminate most of your wrong numbers. You can also use a service that plays a greeting for the caller before the call is completed to a live person. Most wrong numbers will hang up before talking to anyone. See the enhanced toll free services for a review of services that can reduce wrong numbers.

                          Misdials mean free sales!

                          Wrong numbers are usually considered a nuisance and in large numbers can be a royal pain in the neck. But what if you could get wrong numbers that were looking to purchase something from your competitor? I think that might change your attitude toward wrong numbers a little.

                          I’m going to show you a really cool hidden feature of our Keyword Lookup system that will help you find phone numbers that can send you a continuous stream of leads. All you need to do is enter your competitor’s phone numbers and we’ll show you all of the numbers that are one digit away from their number.

                          Write down one of their numbers and reverse the last two digits and dial it. If anyone answers it ask if this is the competitor who’s number it’s similar to and when they say no, ask if they get many calls for them. If they say yes, you know the other misdials will probably get wrong numbers too. If you can make a friend with them you can probably even give them your number and stay in touch with them. A Christmas card and birthday card each year might even guarantee that they give those callers YOUR number instead.

                          Go to our Advanced Keyword Lookup at and in the keyword section enter the 7 digits of your competitor’s advertised toll free number followed by a space and then “(Z?)? where the ? is the third digit of the area code (ie 0, 8, 7 or 6). So if your competitor advertises 800-123-4567, in the Keyword box you enter 123-456 (Z0). You can put as much as you want in, one per line. You’ll get a list in about three minutes of all of the numbers available or that are going to be available. We’ll even redo the research for you every month.

                          Warning: Once you try this even once, it’s very easy to get addicted. You’ll start to notice the competition’s phone numbers everywhere and you may wind up with more leads than you know what to do with. Don’t go too crazy though, stick to your direct competitors and try to make the numbers go to different lines so that you can measure their effectiveness, because some numbers will wk much better than others.

                          This works best for gorilla marketers who compete with large advertisers in industries that have a high value per sale or lead. The more they advertise their number, the more leads you’re going to get. And the best part about it is that they will probably never even know you’re doing it. I’ve even talked to sales representatives who do this with the main company number. And if they do find out, there’s nothing they can really do even if they wanted to. You didn’t mislead anyone or make them use and advertise their number. And it’s probably not worth the expense to change all of their advertising.

                          A friend has a number one digit away from a large mortgage company and he gets about 100 leads per month from it. All he does is take down the customer information and gets paid $20 per lead. That’s not a bad little side line business, with no advertising or expense at all except answering a few calls. Oh, and you might want to put in your own advertised numbers too. You’d hate to find that your competition is doing this to you!

                            Comments1 comment

                            Random Testimonials

                            Testimonial 1863 out of 1983

                            You Guys Rock.............

                            Michael Leach
                            Loan Solutions of America

                            Testimonial 364 out of 1983

                            You Really helped make sense out of the whole 1-800 Maze.....

                            Rodney Moore, CEO
                            Tricky T's

                            Testimonial 1298 out of 1983

                            I was very pleased with your service. My goal was to re-vamp my company image as well as improve my marketing strategies by combining my company name, domain and toll free number into one statement. Using Bill's site, I was able to find able to find a selection of good available numbers, including one which was also available as a domain ( I registered this domain, as well as, which allows me to advertise my name, site and number all in one shot.
                            web design
                            Thank You,

                            - Joe Renteria, Project Coordinator
                            Toll Free

                            Testimonial 60 out of 1983

                            thank you bill your web site was very helfull to obtain a toll free # . It's easy to use

                            Ahmed Alsourougi
                            Saturn Insurance Services, Inc

                            Testimonial 1144 out of 1983

                            I was given your website address from customer service of a large telephone company with the instructions to use your site as a way to search for toll free numbers that are available. When I found a number I liked I was told to contact this large telephone company and they could register and activate the number. I had a quick question so I called and talked directly with Bill. I was completely caught off guard with a live person answering within the first few rings, not the typical telephone company! Bill answered all my questions, gave great advice on using his website and hints of what I should be looking for with regards to my business. Being a small company and trying to save money, later in the day I called the large telephone company to get clarification on their pricing. I was informed it would take several days and also not previously mentioned there was a $20 activation fee.

                            Bottom line is had my toll free number setup for $49.95 and was completed and working in less than 8 hours. (The majority of that time was looking for a number I liked. Order, activation and tested working in less than 2 hours)

                            Large Telephone company would have taken a minimum of 2-3 days, $20 setup fee, $23 per month, and .05 cents per minute usage. Second large phone company has not returned a call to let me know if they can forward the toll free # to a cell phone.

                            This testimonial was written a week after activation by
                            I have my toll free number already printed and in use and would still be waiting for a call back from the "big guys." I can not think of anything you could have done better. Keep up the good work!

                            Wayne Pehrson
                            Sandia Peak Realty

                            Testimonial 1888 out of 1983

                            Thanks for a GREAT level of customer service this morning. In less than five minutes you had located an 800 number with the exact last four numbers 7665 which I was looking for. I only wish I had found your company last April when unfortunately I signed up with a company called Phone People. We recently decided that we didn’t need the voicemail service any more and wanted to transfer our number to another company.

                            Sadly, Phone People would not allow me to port the number I got from them last April, stating that since I came to them for my 888 toll free number it was their policy to not allow the number to be ported out of their company. But, on the plus side you were able to find an even better number, an ‘800’ number so even though I have to change my number I’ll come out ahead and will now own my own number so I can’t fall into that trap again.

                            I’ll need to do some updating for my new number but the long term benefits far outweigh any negatives. Thanks again for your help. I didn’t realize the difference when I got started and how important it is to own your number but I do now. I would certainly highly recommend your company to anyone who was in the market for toll free numbers. Keep up the great job!

                            Ron Burr
                            One Stop Pool Supplies

                            Testimonial 1420 out of 1983

                            Being in China recently trying to get a number we where unable to get the order form to come up to pay for the number. I called and talked to Bill and he said don't worry we will hold the number in your name and you can take care if on your return. He did! and must say am very impressed by the great service and the trust he showed in us. Thank you Bill!

                            Barney G Ward
                            TUIT Inc.

                            Testimonial 847 out of 1983

                            What a great service! Completely easy to use, and great supporting information to figure out how to use it best.

                            Jim Winett
                            IC Consulting Services LLC

                            Testimonial 481 out of 1983

                            Once again you've come through for us. Your site is the best tool around for finding an 800 number. I was astounded how quickly the number was connected. The screen said "Order Complete, Your Number is Now Connected".
                            So, I picked-up my cell phone and called the new 800 number, and sure enough my business phone rang... Amazing!

                            Joel Plofsky
                            Express Lane Media

                            Testimonial 1926 out of 1983

                            Thankyou for the wonderful service you provided us! We love our number and the care and concern you showed was fantastic. I will be sure to recommend your company when ever possible! precise medical services in Los Angels, CA

                            Best regards,
                            Eric Hottenroth