Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Sprint Customers Can Get Their Own Vanity Number — If They Want to Pony Up $3 a Month

Sprint will be the first carrier to offer customers the option to get their own StarStar Me vanity number.

For $3 a month, Sprint customers can pick a combination of numbers to spell out their name, their favorite team or just about any other five-to-10-number configuration. People calling from any major mobile phone carrier can then dial simply “star star” and the chosen vanity name to reach the caller.

Those with a “star star” number can have it ring their phone, or, via a mobile app, can send the caller an audio message or text linking to a social media or StarStar Me profile.

It’s a partnership between the carrier and Zoove, the Palo Alto-based company that has a registry of millions of such numbers, which start with two punches of the asterisk key followed by several numbers. Until now, Zoove has been focused on selling its “star star” numbers to businesses.

But with only thousands of numbers sold and millions of such numbers at its disposal, Zoove said it realized it was missing out on a large opportunity by not targeting individuals.

Although Zoove is starting with Sprint, the goal is to offer the service through all the major U.S. carriers.

“We anticipate we are going to have the remaining three by the first quarter of 2013, if not by the end of year,” Zoove CEO Joe Gillespie said in an interview.

Disclosure: Gillespie, a former CBS Interactive executive, and I worked together during my days at CNET.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work