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Sprint Now Offering Vanity Phone Numbers Aliases With **Me Service

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the 1-800-annoy-me dept.

Cellphones 85

MojoKid writes "Sprint has announced a new vanity phone number alias service called **Me. In a nutshell, **Me lets you create a custom name that people can use to call you if they don't have your actual number programmed into their phone. For example, if your name is Jerry, you can use **Jerry as your handle. Or perhaps if your nickname is "Mad Dog", you can opt for **MadDog. Monikers must be at least 5 characters in length but no more than 9, not counting the two stars. The service costs $2.99 per month, but there are no additional usage charges beyond your normal Sprint plan. Currently, **Me will only accept calls from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and other Sprint customers, and doesn't accept text messages yet."

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I know the one I want... (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41590815)

I have Verizon (the service which during a recent trip to Travis Air Force Base really sucked big time), I think Iâ(TM)ll ask for âoeFuckMeRawâ.

Re:I know the one I want... (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#41590855)

I guess that none of Sprint, Verizon and Slashdot support Unicode.

Re:I know the one I want... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41590913)

No, it's a Slashdot issue.

Re:I know the one I want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591455)

Oh, you mean that wasn't a photograph of the name typed in on a phone up there? Weird.

Re:I know the one I want... (1)

kkansas (2742949) | about 2 years ago | (#41590867)

>I have Verizon (the service which during a recent trip to Travis Air Force Base really sucked big time), I think Iâ(TM)ll ask for âoeFuckMeRawâ.

Did you type this on a phone? What's up with the funky encoding?

Anyone else read that as f*** me? (5, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41590861)

>> Some new phone service called **Me

Anyone else read that as "F*** Me"? Better question - did anyone NOT see that?

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (5, Funny)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 2 years ago | (#41590891)

Anyone else read that as "F*** Me"?

That's how I read the names of all US mobile phone plans.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591137)

I've read is as a double dereference to me.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593269)

Yep, it's called a "handle." :)

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#41591139)

I did, which is the only reason I modded you up as "Informative" rather than "Funny."

Bad brand management.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 2 years ago | (#41591227)

Do you have a second /. account with mod points?

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#41592629)

No, which I now see my mod point didn't get assigned... I don't hand mod points out as often as I should, so I'm guessing you can only do one or the other in a topic? Honest question there.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (3, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41592977)

Its in the rules, and it alerts you when youre about to post in a topic youve modded.

Basically, you can either post, or mod, in a discussion-- not both. If you mod and then post, your moderations are removed, but the points are not refunded. You also have the option of posting anonymously, which I believe will not remove your moderations.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593335)

If you just tic the 'post anon' it will negate your mods, you need to log out.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41591653)

I call dibs on **ckme

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41595367)

RTFS!

Monikers must be at least 5 characters in length but no more than 9, not counting the two stars.

I wonder why they picked 5 and not 4...

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41595521)

**ckmeharder

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 2 years ago | (#41598243)

Excluding the two stars, **ckmeharder is 10 characters. **ckmehard would work though, as would **ckmesilly.

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#41591663)

At first I thought they were teaming up with Cee Lo Green for F*** You service (or the more family friendly Forget You service if you prefer)

Re:Anyone else read that as f*** me? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41591761)

Certainly that is the target market. Tell chicks in bars that one can be reached at BigD, or potential johns can dial YngnHrny. Otherwise I copy numbers from somewhere, paste it into my address book, and magically they appear on my phone. Maybe this would have been big in 2005. I can see it being used for certain mass market sales venues, but seriously, I just touch my screen and the call happens.

Reaction? (1)

jd659 (2730387) | about 2 years ago | (#41590909)

Want to see the reaction of the HR department looking at **MadDog as a phone number on a job application.

Re:Reaction? (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about 2 years ago | (#41590959)

I think you may just use your regular old phone number on a job app or resume. Unless I was applying to work at McDonald's. Then I'd make it **McAwesome.

McDonald's will just use the fine print to take th (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41591213)

McDonald's will just use the fine print in the job app to take that from you.

Re:McDonald's will just use the fine print to take (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41593739)

Of course, you'll still have to keep paying $2.99/month

Re:Reaction? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 years ago | (#41596039)

You think this doesn't happen with email addresses now? MadDog@domain.com isn't even that bad. I just appreciate people telling us up front they have no common sense. Saves an interview.

As a long time Sprint customer (3, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#41590941)

I can safely say they will fuck this up and by the way it's sure evidence that Sprint is on the ropes and dying a horrible and inevitable death. I can't WAIT to hear about the thousands of requests they 'lost' or flat out denied or better yet, changed to something else w.o. your knowledge.

Here's my suggestion

F-U-C-K-S-P-R-I-N-T (382) 577-7468

Re:As a long time Sprint customer (1)

ebh (116526) | about 2 years ago | (#41592471)

It's not a Sprint thing; they just happen to be the first carrier offering it to consumers. Check out www.startstar.co.

this is ridiculous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41590983)

heres my phone number to call me from your cell phone, and here's my other number for when you want to call me from a landline or send me a text

How do you pronounce that? (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#41590985)

Star-star-me? Asterisk-asterisk-me? Just "me"?

Re:How do you pronounce that? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41591125)

They forgot the first rule of modern marketing - make it Google-able.

Re:How do you pronounce that? (1)

Aryden (1872756) | about 2 years ago | (#41593951)

wrap it in " " literal strings are literal strings for a reason.

Re:How do you pronounce that? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41594697)

Which doesn't work. Google doesn't treat it as a literal string. It just returns a bunch of results which contain text of the form "[something] [something] me".

Re:How do you pronounce that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41596371)

dibs on **DarkSide
something something dark side

Re:How do you pronounce that? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#41591433)

People will probably refer to it as "star me"

Re:How do you pronounce that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591943)

People will probably refer to it as "star me"

...kitten?

Re:How do you pronounce that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593813)

I was hoping someone would say that!

Re:How do you pronounce that? (1)

deimios666 (1040904) | about 2 years ago | (#41593527)

The asterisk is mute. I just denotes that you are an AI. Kudos to those who get the reference.

Bad name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41590987)

"...service called **Me..."

I've got a girlfriend for that. I don't need my phone offering that service, thank you very much...and the ladies don't need it either; their phones already vibrate on command.

Innovation? (2)

Slyder (30950) | about 2 years ago | (#41591031)

Is it innovation to create a half-assed version of centralized single-provider DNS for phones?

Why do we not have phones in DNS yet?

Re:Innovation? (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 2 years ago | (#41592163)

It would make too much sense. The registrar marketing droids hadn't figured out who to bribe to force the change to the DNS standards. Or maybe they're thinking that it will be easier to do with the gradual acceptance of IPV6.

Re:Innovation? (3, Funny)

drcheap (1897540) | about 2 years ago | (#41593477)

Why do we not have phones in DNS yet?

Because it stands for Domain Name System. Often pronounced "dee niss" by people who think 3 syllables of "dee inn ess" is too many.

What you are thinking of is a very similar parallel technology, the Phone Number System, or PNS. And I can imagine that "pee inn ess" is too much, so people will pronounce it "pee niss" instead.

Re:Innovation? (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 2 years ago | (#41594709)

They can just call it Tee-niss for telephone. I know I am killing your joke. Sorry.

Re:Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41595493)

Who's stopping you from using a TXT record for that?

For rDNS'ing phone numbers, we have .e164.arpa [ietf.org] .

Re:Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41595575)

Short answer: Because phones already behave off of a DNS-like system

Looking a little deeper at DNS [howstuffworks.com] , with www.google.com

  1. First ".com" and corresponding server
  2. Second "google" with corresponding server(s)
  3. Lastly, which google server serves up "www", as opposed to "mail" or "gmail" or "googleplus"
  4. Now lets look at phone numbers [howstuffworks.com] , using a Target in San Diego as an example (619) 223-2491:

    1. First, the switchboard looks for where "619" points
    2. Second, where "223" points
    3. Last, which phone is at the number "2491"

    So how exactly is that not like DNS? Would we all rather have some sort of "firstname.lastname.state" phone number? How many people out there would be lucky if even family could spell their last name?

Star Star Me? (4, Funny)

SixArmedJesus (513025) | about 2 years ago | (#41591035)

I think Sprint missed a real opportunity using "star" instead of "pound".

##Mom

Re:Star Star Me? (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41591141)

I think Sprint missed a real opportunity using "star" instead of "pound".

##YourMom

FTFY

Re:Star Star Me? (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about 2 years ago | (#41594561)

How did this get modded as "Informative"?

Re:Star Star Me? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41607135)

How did this get modded as "Informative"?

Because double-pounding YourMom is an enlightening experience.


Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week!

Re:Star Star Me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591147)

You're a disgusting pervert. Either you have a fixation on old ladies, or you have a fixation on older women fucking underaged boys. Either way, it's digusting.

Re:Star Star Me? (3, Insightful)

drcheap (1897540) | about 2 years ago | (#41593495)

You're a disgusting pervert. Either you have a fixation on old ladies, or you have a fixation on older women fucking underaged boys. Either way, it's digusting.

Who said moms are old?
Hell, turn on a daytime talk show and you'll probably see some mom who isn't even old enough to legally ## in the first place.

Re:Star Star Me? (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 2 years ago | (#41594717)

## is used on a lot of phones (especially Motorolas) for manual programing so it would cause conflicts.

More phone calls from strangers? Yes please! (3, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#41591045)

Let me pay for the oppretunity to be easily reached by any and all marketing companies with scketchy products and willingness to violate the do not call list? Where do I sign up? Can I have two for three times the price? Is sprint really charging enough money for this? Can they possibly sell these lists to such marketing companies that will promise to offer me worthless crap with a robotic message recorded by a non native english speaker, to make up for the low, low price for such awesomeness?

LOL... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591075)

Soon you will get some really weird "**ME" handlers because all the sane names and acronyms or abbreviations will be taken...

Whats your handler?

eekkkbrr1 ...

Look out Sprint... (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | about 2 years ago | (#41591131)

Look out Sprint, for Darl Mcbride's lawyers, whom are likely filing court papers this very minute. He will probably try to sue your pants off for Billieans, for using the two letters "Me" as found in his "Me Inc.".

Me Inc
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darl_McBride [wikipedia.org]
http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2010090209355689 [groklaw.net]

Re:Look out Sprint... (2)

Aryden (1872756) | about 2 years ago | (#41593959)

Or apple shows up with trademark paperwork that was meant for MobileMe and shows their ownership of anything related to **Me

We need something like DNS (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41591173)

Phone numbers are a relic from the early 20th century, when it was incredibly difficult to transmit information in a machine-readable format across wires. 10 digits was about the extent of the "character set" you could use while keeping pulse dialing [wikipedia.org] times relatively short.

We need a system like DNS which will automatically convert an easier-to-remember text string to your phone number, much like domain names are converted to IP addresses. Smartphone phone books automatically do this to some extent, linking people's email addresses with their phone numbers. But there needs to be a universal methodology for doing this. (And require each text string be linked to an owned phone number, to prevent squatting on good phrases like has happened with domain names.)

numbers are better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591341)

I think it is better for people to have phone numbers
1) phone numbers use less keystrokes than the hypothetical text strings
2) most people don't want other people to know their phone number, unless they give it out. There is a do not call list.
3) the presence of area codes makes routing easier, not a biggie these days
4) phone numbers are changed less frequently than IP address.

Re:numbers are better (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 years ago | (#41591907)

The do not call list is worthless. My phone rings almost every day with political calls, surveys, local government and commercial calls from "cardholder services". We're on the do not call list. Writing this post was just interrupted after 8pm by someone who just wanted to ask a few questions about issues in the news.

Numbers are prone to war dialing by spammers. I don't need to give them my number, they can just cycle through all the numbers that exist.

Area codes don't help with routing. Number portability means any number can terminate anywhere. Fortunately the phone companies have figured out a way to deal with this and it looks a lot like DNS.

Re:We need something like DNS (ugh, tinyurl) (1)

neurocutie (677249) | about 2 years ago | (#41591371)

ugh, and I suppose you want SSN's to be like DNS, and invoice numbers to be like DNS too...complete with tinyurl's to shortcut around the very thing you think is great about DNS...

sometimes numbers are just easier

Re:We need something like DNS (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41591637)

Why "something like DNS" instead of simply DNS itself? Pretending smartphones aren't Internet hosts (or causing them not to be) is just creating another layer of complication and expense over everything.

Cell providers: just let me buy bytes from you. Maybe it's a "server" in the form of a cellphone receiving a VOIP call. Maybe not. It's not your concern.

Re:We need something like DNS (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41592711)

We need a system like DNS which will automatically convert an easier-to-remember text string to your phone number...

That's a great idea! Perhaps there could be groups of 3 letters associated with each number so you could have a easy mnemonic for at least the first couple of digits, perhaps representing the local exchange, like:
MUrray Hill 5-9975 --- would be for 685-9975
-or-
BALdwin 6828 --- would be for 225-6828

That way you wouldn't have to remember so many numbers...

Re:We need something like DNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593301)

We need a system like DNS which will automatically convert an easier-to-remember text string to your phone number, much like domain names are converted to IP addresses.

Perhaps we could use your name plus your address? And to save time, it could just give you a number that you could dial next time. We could call that service something like whitepages.com or anywho.com

Ideal customer (1, Funny)

jspenguin1 (883588) | about 2 years ago | (#41591209)

Would Louis C.K be able to get "**ck"?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591229)

In this day and age where you store numbers on your phone and call them by reference,

Why?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591257)

It's a lot easier to drunkenly give out your phone number when its **YOURNAME. Plus it's easy to block numbers calling in to that number if you regret giving that number out later.

Namegrab 2012 Edition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591231)

I've already registered 50 common names. I'll sell you the rights to one for $5/mo.

OBLIG: assman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591309)

That is all.

Yay, DNS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591321)

Is it just me, or did they just create DNS for phone numbers?

Anyways, I would be dink and register **Star :)

seems stupid: 111-1111 or 111-0000 are vanity #'s. (1)

neurocutie (677249) | about 2 years ago | (#41591343)

I really don't get **ME as being "vanity" numbers...

as long as phones still use a 0-9#* dialpad for dialing, vanity numbers will be numbers that are easy to remember AND dial, like 111-1111. Having to dial **ME XYZ is hardly an easy thing to dial, particularly if you are doing it by touch (no seeing) and with one hand. And worse, its not your real number, just an alternative alias. Texting, etc still comes under your real number.

finally, I think speed dialing combined with contact lists pulling up the caller's identity, plus CID pretty much has all the bases covered.

But I like my "vanity number", a XYZ-9000 and wouldn't give it up anyways...

Re:seems stupid: 111-1111 or 111-0000 are vanity # (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#41591513)

It's not **me xyz, it would just be **xyz in that instance. No, it's really not hard to dial that.

The whole purpose aside from pure vanity is to ease situations where it is easier to give an alphanumeric name opposed to digits of numbers. Obviously there are going to be situations where this does not really help anything, but people can more easily digest this type of information than numbers. It's not as though it's replacing the old number system.

The whole concept of "vanity numbers" is not extremely easy to deal with anyway. Have you tried to get a number in the past 10 years? I know where I live, the free numbers that are available for the taking would rarely qualify for "vanity". You can't just demand a specific whole number (you can try, but the odds of getting it are zilch). Numbers and combinations of numbers are often reserved for different types of use such as commercial or residential.

This just gives you some options.

Re:seems stupid: 111-1111 or 111-0000 are vanity # (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#41591519)

Having to dial **ME XYZ

I think it would just be **XYZ, if I am reading the summary correctly.

So... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#41591713)

The service costs $2.99 per month... Currently, **Me will only accept calls from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and other Sprint customers, and doesn't accept text messages yet.

So, it's almost useless and costs just $2.99/mo, PLUS the confusion of explaining to people that they need to dial with ACTUAL letters and not the letters that overlay the numbers that we've been using for decades? SIGN ME UP!

Seriously, what moron thought this up? When I get someone's number, I dial it ONCE. If I don't create a new contact right away, I press the little '>' next to their number in "recents" and save it later. Usually you can depend on companies to snatch up a few good names in schemes like this but what's the point? "To order, call **OXICLEAN from your Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint mobile phone TODAY! But not **69425326 -- dial star star, then switch keyboards (if your phone lets you*) and dial letter O, letter X, letter I..." Yeah. Good luck with that.

* as far as I can tell, it's not even possible to enter plain old letters with an iPhone.

Re:So... (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41591955)

I suppose people can use their twitter handle. But $36/yr for essentially nothing? The moron isn't the one who thought it up, the moron is the twit who buys it.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41592475)

Who said you had to dial letters? I think you just use the letters on the numberpad. This greatly reduces the number of unique combinations though.

Re:So... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#41595293)

Ah yes, so it is. See, I didn't RTFA in the first place :-) but I went with the assumption that they wouldn't just go with the letters-over-numbers thing because that would be too limiting. But I did RTFA (and then I watched TFV) and yes, that's all it is. Even worse. So now **SARAH (**72724), as shown in the ad, knocks out 242 (3^5-1) other possible combinations. Instead of 26^5 possible combinations of 5-letter names, there are only 9^5.

The article is worth reading (just kidding) for this funny bit: "It's a quirky service, but letting users give out easy-to-remember aliases instead of 7-digit phone numbers is a terrific idea." Wow. Yes, a terrific idea nearly a hundred years ago. Sprint is right there on the cutting edge.

Phone numbers were not so usually strictly numeric until the mid-1960s. From the 1920s until then, most urban areas had "exchanges" of two letters, followed by numbers, e.g., EDgewood, IVanhoe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_number#US_phone_number_history [wikipedia.org]

ick (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41591931)

Nothing more needs to be said. its stupid.

So? (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | about 2 years ago | (#41592501)

Even more than why anyone would pay for this I wonder why all the tech sites are running this. Slow news day I guess?

Me: call me at Star Star Pound (1)

microcars (708223) | about 2 years ago | (#41592649)

Other person: **# .....this doesn't work
Me: that's OK, try my other line STAR STAR STAR STAR
Other person: **** ...wtf?
Me: No, press the star button twice, then spell STAR twice. It's like 1111 or 0000 only much easier!
Other person: Tell you what, why don't you call me instead?
Me: OK, what's your **ME number?
Other person: **POUNDSAND

Sounds familiar (3, Informative)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | about 2 years ago | (#41593159)

H-T-T-P colon slash slash slash dot dot org

summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41592705)

it appears to use this it requires the installation of an app.. imho that defeats the whole purpose. and it doesnt help that i have a very wrll known 4 letter moniker - not that i want the world to easily call me.

REM (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about 2 years ago | (#41592929)

I'll take **MeKitten, please.

Vanity number for emergencies will be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593823)

... **0118 999 881 999 119 725... 3.

news that matters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593911)

^ yep.. really matters.

Lolz (1)

Aryden (1872756) | about 2 years ago | (#41593969)

I'm waiting for the first lawsuit by someone famous or some corp for a normal user utilizing a name like **Apple or **Microsoft or **Google.

More phone calls from strangers (1)

pradeepnagar (2748433) | about 2 years ago | (#41594007)

Thanks for providing an effective content that offers complete synchronization between creativity and information. The website meets all the requirements of the readers and is user friendly and answers all queries of the clients.
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