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666: The Market for Numbers

Almaty: phone numbers for sale

Numbers, as the trailer for the show goes are everywh3re. Whilst the value of those numbers varies according to personal preference e.g. lucky numbers, circumstance e.g. birthdays and cultural norms e.g. auspicious dates, some countries have thriving markets to assign those numbers to you – at least temporarily. The photos show phone numbers for sale in Almaty, Kazakhstan – but it could be almost any market where pre-paid phones are common.

Take a good look around you: everywhere you see a number, imagine a marketplace where the ‘rights’ to those numbers are bought and sold: phone numbers; bank accounts; bus time tables; position in a queue; a day to die.

Thought for today: in the same way that the names for stars are bought (but rarely resold) is there ever going to be a universal marketplace for ‘owning’ numbers? There are of course very effective marketplaces for the ‘loaning’ of words – not least Google Adsense – which also allows the buying and selling of numbers. A non-exhaustive search shows 666 being the first that actually brings up an advert.

Almaty: phone numbers for sale