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900 numbers

I was involved briefly in the 900 number industry. What I discovered was disheartening. Of course we all know that most of these 900 lines promote pornographic material and are rented out by the porn industry. Even more popular are the 'psychic hotlines' and the 'tarot reader' hotlines. So popular have these lines become that the 'psychic hotline' is a cultural idiom.

What I discovered is something you need to know right now about all 'home based business' material. The average person makes more money selling the information about 900 numbers than they do in the numbers business itself.

I spent around 30 dollars once checking out a 900 number opportunity. It was total bunk. I also have an associate who 'made it big' in 900 numbers. But he had to spend thousand's of dollars up front to get started. He would not tell me what theme he was selling on these 900 lines. That means it was probably unsavory. Not my cup of tea!

All the morality set aside, I think 900 numbers are completely stupid . . . for any reason. They are pretty easy to get wiped off of your bill, especially if only called once . . . not that I ever did anything like that.

A friend of mine had a 900 spyware software somehow 'mysteriously' download onto his computer and it automatically started calling sex hotlines or sex whatever's. Whatever it was doing he never really figured out, but it showed up on his phone bill (not his internet bill) at around 50 dollars for 4 minutes. This friend came to me all embarrassed, because he had just gotten online. He was a young guy and was renting a room from a church organization -and the landlord had access to the phone bill for his room! I guess the 900 spyware company figures some people will be too busy or to embarrassed to call the phone company and get the bogus charge taken off. The phone company took it off for us in about 30 seconds.

Suffice it to say there is lots of money being made in 900 numbers and most of the money is 'blood' money. I was also scammed by a 900 number in a bogus 'loan scam retrieval' operation which is a very funny story posted here.

BSA gives
the 900 industry not recommended.

900 Numbers

900 numbers have been heavily advertised over the last few years as a great way to make money. Everybody from Dionne Warwick to Don Lapre is getting in on the pay per call action.

In theory (theory mind you) they are a great way for people to make money. You start up a simple phone line and people start calling by the thousands (I sound like someone I know on TV.) When the numbers became popular a few years ago, sex and adult lines were a large part of the business. Psychic lines are now the rage. There are some psychic lines that are generating millions of dollars in calls per month. (Although Dionne's did go bankrupt. Didn't the psychics warn her?)

Every single one of these succesful lines has a huge advertising budget. The people renting out lines are not going to advertise a thing, only rent you the lines. There are many companies that rent 900 numbers if you would like to get one.

When companies first started renting lines 10 years ago, the person renting would only get a small percentage of each call, maybe 10% to 20%. Since so many companies are renting lines now(increased competition), the call per-minute amount you get is much higher. You can literally find hundreds of different companies in the back of business magazines that will sell you consulting and 900 lines.

976 numbers were the first toll lines that came out. The problem was that they were local only and didn't have that many features. Large advertisers wanted one number they could advertise all over the US and get calls for, not just one small local area. 900 numbers solved that problem.

There are really two big problems with 900 numbers. The first is perception. 900 numbers seem really idiotic to most people. If you had a great business idea or way to make money, 900 numbers would probably be one of the worst ways to advertise.

How many friends do you have that call 900 numbers each month? How many 900 numbers did you call last month? This is the sort of thing you have to think of when you are going to start a business. If you would never use the services, why would anybody else? This is something that people like Don Lapre would never tell you. Don lapre just wants you to think that 900 numbers are a big cash cow. This is not the reality.

The other thing is money. You need a lot of money to really get a 900 number going. Starting with $500 isn't going to do it. You need a heck of a lot more than that. Most of the big companies have $500,000 monthly advertising budgets (that's even out of my league.)

You are much better off getting into direct marketing, network marketing, internet marketing or even real estate investing over dealing with 900 numbers. It is like real estate or network marketing. A lot harder to make money than how it is advertised.

Matt Gagnon

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