One of the more common questions we answer here at FreedomVoice is what prefixes are toll free numbers, and what the differences are between them all. We never tire of the questionÂ - it gives us the opportunity to share our expertise and help startups and entrepreneurs that are looking to get the most out ofÂ a toll free number and virtual phone system.
In short, yes – 888 is a prefix for toll free numbers. But how does it stack up to an 800 number?
Toll free numbers have been around in the U.S. since 1967, but really didn’t see much business use until much later. Back then, the only available toll free number prefix was the ubiquitous “800 number“, which had nearly 30 years to worm its way into consumer’s minds as being the toll free number prefix. But by 1996, increasing demand and competition for these numbers brought on the unveiling of another prefix – the 888 toll free number. Since then, 877 and 866 have been added, with 855 slated on deck.
So if 800 has been around the longest, and is most easily recognized, why would your business want to consider a toll free number of another prefix? The top two reasons, hands down, are scarcity and freshness.
I’m not going to say that all of the good 800 numbers are taken – there are still a couple gems to found out there for your business with an 800 prefix. I will say, though, that the well is starting to run pretty dry and that your pool of options are much greater if you do decide to go with an 866, 877, or 888 number. With these prefixes, you can easily track down a great toll free number with repeating digits (“2525″), sequential digits (“2345″), or even a vanity toll free number that spells out words that describe your business (e.g. “BIKE” OR “FLOWERS”).
While you might not get the same ease of recognition from your non-800 prefix, you can still wind up with a more attractive number that gets better response and is easier for your audience to remember.
With a given 800 number, being around as long as these numbers have, there’s a good chance it has passed through at least a couple owners in their time before you get your hands on it. Toll free numbers are required to wait in holding for several months before being reissued – but there’s always a chance that the 800 number you get is still floating around out on old marketing materials, websites, and business cards. To truly make a new toll free number your own and to grow that number as part of your company, you might want to consider a more fresh 866, 877, or 888 number.
You won’t get the same level of established presence as you would with 800 numbers, but you may be able to save yourself some headache while keeping a key part of your brand fresh.
To browse 866, 877, 888, or 800 toll free numbers, or to search for your own vanity toll free number, check out what FreedomVoice has to offer.