Entries in Numbers (4)


Let Your Digits Do the Talking: What Does Your Phone Number Spell?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For some, the 10-digit code others use to call them isn't just a phone number—it carries a personal or practical significance.

Businesses often use vanity phone numbers, or numbers that spell a keyword to advertise their services. But some are choosy about their personal numbers as well because they find emotional or spiritual value in them.

The latter was the case for Jeremy Grodberg, founder of, a website that converts phone numbers to see what words they spell. Grodberg started the site in 1995 because he was moving apartments and wanted a tool to help him find a meaningful phone number.

Grodberg's old number spelled the word "clarity."

This was fitting, because "that's kind of what I was trying to do in my personal and professional life; I was trying to bring clarity to people whether in business or in spirituality," Grodberg said.

Now, callers can reach him at a number that's a little bit less serious but every bit as catchy: One of his current phone numbers spells "pink yak."

Grodberg stumbled upon the catchy number when he registered for new digits using Google Talk, and it was too good to pass up.

"I just get a kick out of saying pink yak," Grodberg said.

When Grodberg started, landlines were more commonly used than cell phones, and mnemonic devices were useful for remembering personal phone numbers. Now, vanity numbers are primarily used by businesses or individuals interested in personal branding, Grodberg said.

A number of companies specialize in securing vanity numbers for business owners who want a recognizable phone number to attract customers' attention.

Zoove, a 6-month-old company, secures and then leases vanity numbers to clients across the country. Most of Zoove's clients are large companies that advertise on television, said Jim Stanley, head of marketing.

William Arruda, a personal branding specialist and co-author of Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand, said that most of his clients are increasingly interested in Web-based branding and marketing. For clients with common names, finding and registering a vanity website in their own names is increasingly difficult.

Vanity numbers are ideal for businesses targeting large groups of television viewers or radio listeners because potential consumers can remember the number even when they aren't in a position to write it down, Grodberg said.

Unfortunately for those seeking something a little bit more along the lines of Grodberg's "pink yak," personal vanity numbers are usually quite difficult to secure.

Each phone company has its own policy on handing out customized phone numbers, Grodberg said. Some companies allow choosy customers to pick from a list of several dozen numbers, while others are less flexible.

T-Mobile, for instance, does not allow customers to choose vanity numbers, according to a company spokesperson.

Alternately, businesses and individuals can pay for a customized 800 number.

"I think that as the world changes, each of us is our own little mini brand," Arruda said. "We all are free agents, and the need for having people be able to easily find us is critical in all aspects of our lives."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jackpot Rising: No Winners in Latest Mega Millions Drawing

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If $242 million wasn't enough for you, now may be the time to jump into the Mega Millions lottery, with the jackpot rising to an estimated $290 million after no one held winning numbers in Friday's drawing.

But here is another number to keep in mind before blowing your savings on Tuesday night's drawing.  The odds of matching all five numbers, plus the mega-ball are 1 in 176,000,000.

Tuesday's likely jackpot is the highest prize since Missouri and Arkansas got into the game last year.  Mega Millions is played in 41 states and the District of Columbia.  Friday's drawing was the 14th straight without a winner.  That led to a snowballing effect as the jackpot grows each time the drawing is held with no winners.

Mega Millions numbers are drawn Tuesdays and Fridays.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Number of Shoppers, Average Spending Up Black Friday Weekend

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A trade group that represents the nation’s big chain stores and some local retailers says shopping over the Black Friday weekend has shown improvement over last year.

Estimates from the National Retail Federation indicate that some 212 million shoppers will have visited the nation’s stores between Thursday and Sunday, up from 195 million last year.

The NRF says it believes the average spent by consumers increased as well, up 6.4 percent to $365.34. Total spending topped $45 billion, according to the group.

“While Black Friday weekend is not always an indicator of holiday season performance, retailers should be encouraged that a focus on value and discretionary gifts has shoppers in the spirit to spend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Black Friday Crowds Larger than Last Year's

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Major stores like Best Buy, Sears, Macy's and Toys R Us report bigger Black Friday crowds than last year. So do major mall operators. And in a sign that could be encouraging, retailers say they noticed shoppers not just buying for others, but treating themselves, as well.

There was a bit too much enthusiasm in some parts as malls opened early Friday. A New York man is recovering after shoppers trampled him when a Target store in Buffalo let customers in at 4 a.m. In Grand Chute, Wis., police were called when shoppers tried to plow into a Toys R Us with carts. ´╗┐

The National Retail Federation has said up to 138 million people could hit stores during the post-Thanksgiving holiday weekend and has forecast a 2.3 percent increase in sales during November and December as retailers look for their best holiday season in three years.  Internet research firm Coremetrics reports a 16 percent increase in online sales during the the launch of the holiday shopping season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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