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New York, NY, Jan 13, 1996 (DLD DIGEST) -- The deadline is quickly looming for 800 number subscribers to have their 800 numbers replicated in the new 888 area code. Luckily for savvy businesses, while carriers are not publicizing this information, there is one consulting firm that's making sure its clients are protected.

According to Judith Oppenheimer, President of Interactive CallBrand, "The telecom industry is offering business 800 users an unprecedented opportunity to replicate -- mirror -- their 800 toll-free numbers in the new toll-free 888 exchange, so that their customers don't reach competitors instead. For example, 1 800 FLOWERS wants to make sure that it will be assigned 1 888 FLOWERS once the new system is in effect."

"The problem," continued Oppenheimer, "is that businesses haven't been informed about, or guided through the replication process by their carriers. It's the biggest secret in business communications today. And it could have disasterous results for businesses who miss the opportunity."

"1 800 YEARBOOK used to belong to the Baltimore Orioles, and we still get calls, two years later, for the Baltimore Orioles yearbook!" says Mitchell P. Davis, Editor and Publisher of The Yearbook of Experts Authorities & Spokespersons. "Just imagine if someone else got 888 YEARBOOK and put it on tv! We'd have to pay for those calls - and we don't want to delay customers when they're trying to reach the right place. They'll be confused."

It appears that only a few industry insiders have made themselves privy to this information. Interactive CallBrand, a consulting and marketing firm specializing in toll-free services, has stayed on top of the facts and ahead of the deadlines by participating at all industry forums.

"ICB's given us critical information to protect our 800 numbers during the 888 process", says Jay Carpenter, President of 1 800 SHOP AUTOS. "Even if a non-competitor got the numeric version in the 888 exchange, the cost in misdials and lost business to both companies could be prohibitive. It's a risk we can't afford to take."

For more information contact:
Judith Oppenheimer
ICB Inc.
160 East 26 Street, Suite 6E 
New York, NY  10010
Phone: (212) 684-7210.
Toll Free: (800) 843-3973
Email: joppenheimer@icbtollfree.com
ICB News Web Site: http://icbtollfree.com.

Source: ICB Inc.

Opinions expressed above are those of the Source, and not necessarily those of the publishers of The Digest.