EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 704 - February 20, 2004     3 of 4

Jenny Is Now Toll-Free: Seller Puts 800-867-5309 on eBay

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The toll-free versions of a phone number made famous by a 1980s pop song were listed on eBay on Thursday as part of a company's assets. Jeffrey Steinberg of Philadelphia is selling his business, JSS Marketing. The start-up marketing company was planning to use two of its assets, 800-867-5309 and 888-867-5309 as incoming phone lines to generate new business.

Earlier this week eBay pulled the auction for the phone number 212-867-5309 after telephone service provider Verizon claimed telephone numbers could not be sold by individuals. eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy said, "We don't want people selling things that they don't own since buyers are unlikely to get the items. Our biggest concern is protecting the integrity of the marketplace, protecting buyers and sellers." Durzy said the auction site's policy team is looking into the legal issues surrounding the sale of phone numbers.

The auction received a lot of attention, and bidding reached over $80,000 before being pulled from eBay. The 1981 song "Jenny/867-5309" by Tommy Tutone reached 4 on the music charts in early 1982. Steinberg said he used to be in the advertising industry and has owned the toll-free numbers since 1991. He said after the media attention involving the 212-867-5309 auction, he thought it would be a good time to sell his startup company, "along with his professional expertise in marketing and all of the companies assets."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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