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800 vs. 888 Toll-Free Numbers – What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever asked, what’s the difference between toll-free 800 vs. 888 numbers, you’re not alone. The short answer is nothing. It’s been proven that American consumers equate toll-free numbers in advertising with established, credible businesses, regardless of the toll-free prefix. But over the years, the stock of toll-free 800 numbers has grown smaller. This makes 888 numbers the next best toll-free number option for businesses.

This post will give you a brief history of toll-free numbers for businesses, how you can use a toll-free number in your marketing, and why 800response is the leading provider of both 800 and 888 toll-free numbers.

Brief History of Toll-Free 800 and 888 Numbers

Prior to making “888” toll-free numbers available to the public, the FCC allowed assignees of 1-800 numbers to pre-reserve the equivalent number in 1-888. And that’s basically how the toll-free prefix, 888, was born.

Toll-Free Number Timeline

  • 1967: AT&T launches “Inbound WATS”
  • 1984: Toll-Free Services “Unbundled” by MFJ*
  • 1990: 800response offers shared-use vanity 800 numbers and our proprietary call routing and call tracking system to small and mid-size businesses in the US.
  • 1994: Toll-Free Number Portability Mandated
  • 1996: “888” Service Introduced
  • 1997: International Toll-Free Introduced
  • 1998: “877” Service Introduced
  • 2000: “866” Service Introduced
  • 2006: 800response expands service of vanity 800 numbers and call tracking and monitoring to Canada
  • Present: 800response is still the leading vanity 800 number provider in North America.

Why Choose 800response for Your toll-free 800 and 888 numbers?

When you activate a toll-free 800 or 888 number with us, you get call tracking data on each of those phone numbers. Additionally, we offer geo-call routing for businesses with multiple locations, as well as demographic data on your callers to help target your ideal customer.

What does all of that mean? If you feature unique toll-free numbers in social media campaigns, digital campaigns, direct mail programs, and other promotional efforts, you can track the response you get to each of those marketing tactics. And you can track and analyze all of your call traffic to understand which calls were received as a result of each of those efforts – true insights into lead attribution.

Plus, we offer customer analytics, giving you access to automated transcriptions of the call recordings from any calls coming into your toll-free lines.

Porting Toll-Free 800 and 888 Numbers

If you already have a toll-free 800 or 888 number, you can route any of your toll-free numbers to the 800response platform. Porting numbers is easy, and will help with this process. However, there are a few caveats. Please read our post on porting your business number for more details.

Get Your Next 800 or 88 Number with Us!

When you activate any toll-free 800 or 888 number with us, you get much more than a phone number! For more information on any of our services, contact us online or call 1-800-NEW-SALE – or find your vanity number online now. One of our friendly Account Managers will provide a short demo of our suite of call tracking tools.

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