Way West of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend & Subscriber,
Let's talk about sex.
A few years ago I was browsing in a
Studio City bookstore when the devil made me pick up a girlie
magazine called High Society. The devil then further directed
my attention to the middle of the magazine whereupon he forced
me to examine the centerfold of the month in minute detail.
Thank God for the devil.
Anyway, there she was, all spread
out in her nude, nubile glory, beckoning me to feast my eyes
on every square inch of her lush, wanton, young body. But
that's not all she was beckoning me to do. No, Sir! She was
also beckoning me to call her at a special number so I could
hear her passionately profess how much she wanted my body.
And so I did.
And so did a few other people. In
fact, if my info is correct, some of those centerfold ladies
500,000 Calls Per Day!
Whooee! That's a lot of heavy breathing, ain't it? But, so
what? What ramifications, if any, does this have to do with
our marketing efforts?
Plenty. Just wait. Now listen, do you know how this business
of 976 numbers works? It's sort of like this: What you do is
you go to Ma Bell and tell her you want to have some 976
numbers. Then you arrange to buy or lease some phone answering
equipment. All this will cost you a few thou. O.K., after
you've got all this in place, what you do is you run ads or
mail letters or somehow entice people to call your 976 number
to hear a recorded message.
The numbers go something like this: First, the customer (he
who does the dialing) must pay his normal phone charges. What
this means is that if your 976 number is located in the 212
area code and he is calling from area code 213, then he must
pay a long distance toll charge. However, if he is calling
from the same area code, there is, of course, no long distance
Furthermore, he must also pay a fee (usually about $2.00) for
the privilege of listening to the info on the 976 recorded
And what happens to this $2.00 fee? Aha, I thought you'd never
ask. Hear this: The fee is collected by Ma Bell (it is added
to the caller's phone bill) and Ma keeps about $.50 of it and
sends the rest (about $1.50) to you!
Getting interesting, isn't it?
Let us press on. Remember that centerfold girl who invited me
to call her so she could tell me how hot she was for my bod?
Do you know that what she told me after her recorded message
got me all hot and bothered? Well, listen to this! What she
told me at the end of her recording is that, if I wanted to
talk to her live and, if I had a credit card, I could call
another number and would have the hottest conversation of my
Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!
Hold on, all ye who would think ill of me. I'm not getting
excited about all that heavy breathing; I'm getting excited
about those numbers!
Let's see now, if some of those centerfold girls get 500,000
calls per day, that's uh, about 750,000.00 to he who owns the
976 numbers. And I wonder how many of those people with credit
cards get excited enough to call and talk to a live girl? What
do you think? 20%? 10%? 5%? Naw. That seems too high to me.
Let's base our numbers on a 1% "conversion".
So, 1% of 500,000 is 5,000. Right? And what does it cost a
credit card holder to listen to a real life girl talk dirty?
Well, according to my informants, it's about $35.00 for 15
minutes. And how much is $35.00 times 5,000 callers? Check it
out. It seems to me it's another....
By now, I bet you want to know more about this 976 business,
don't you? But you're probably just like me. In other words,
even though you'd like to know how to apply all this to your
own efforts, you don't want to call one of those "dial-a-porn"
numbers by mistake, now do you? And so, as a public service,
I, Sir Gary of Halbert, am hereby providing a list of numbers
in the 213 area code you must avoid dialing at all cost.
Therefore, no matter what, I implore you....
Do Not Call These Numbers!
Live Sex Talk 976-1133
Gabrielle's Candy Store 976-5477
Sex Soap Opera 976/4277
Live Domination/S&M 976-9447
Love Line 976-9944
Live Oral Excitement 976-6400
Hi Baby 976-5683
Pick Your Pleasure (1-6) 976-8800
Let Me Please You 976-0200
Adult Fantasy 976-8887
Love Story Serial 976-6622
Love Story Serial #2 976-GLOW
A Beautiful Lady 976-7729
Adult Connection 976-1122
Live Fantasy 976-5551
Adult Fantasies 976-5511
Fantasies Come True 976-7399
The Ultimate Male Fantasy976-8665
Leave Your Own Sex Ad 976-LUVV
Adult Film Stars Live 976-9111
And Especially Not These!
Adult Bulletin Board 976-6600
The Beach Girls 976-0404
Talk with Young Actors 976-4323
Live Phone Sex 976-DOIT
Real Live Phone Sex 976-6644
Gay Talk Line 976-BARS
Talk with Young Hunks 976-7742
Remember.... You Have Been Warned!
Whew! I'm glad that's out of the way! Anyway, now that we know
what not to do, how can we cash in on this 976 business for
our own, more respectable business endeavors?
Hmn? How about this? How about if we are selling real estate
in the L.A. area and we run a little ad in the Los Angeles
Times that says...
How to Buy L.A. Real Estate
At Dirt-Cheap Prices! Call (213) 976-0000 For Amazing
Recorded Message. $2.00 Plus Toll, If Any.
Then, when the caller calls, we give him some accurate and
valid tips on how to buy L.A. real estate and, at the end of
the recording, we give him our regular office number to call
if he wants more info.
Did you like that one? I thought you would. By the way, (213)
976-HOME is a number that is safe to call in the L.A. area.
You'll get a recorded message that will give you up-to-date
info on L.A. area properties that have recently gone into
What else? Let's see. How about this? How about if Sir Gary,
the Ravin' Maven of Marketing, runs an ad in the business
section of various publications that says something like
How To Promote Your
Business For Less Than $1,000.00! Exciting Recorded
Message By World's Best Copywriter Reveals Amazing
Secret! It's Only $2 + Toll, If Any. Call (213) 9 7 6
- G A R Y.
Whad'ya think? Will that one fly? Maybe I could change the
message every week and many folks would call week after week
and some of them would become profitable clients and
Hey! Come to think of it, maybe we could mail out the same
copy on a postcard to lists of our best prospects!
Want more? I knew you did. Remember how I told you in an
earlier letter that all of us are greedy, greedy, greedy?
Don't forget that. That concept can lead you down many
profitable paths. Like this one. Suppose you are a car dealer
and you run an ad like this:
R e d H o t C a r s At
Dirt-Cheap Prices! Incredible Recorded Message Reveals
How To Get Amazing Bargains. Call (213) 976-C A R S.
$2 Plus Toll, If Any.
Or you're a cosmetic surgeon and you run one like this:
New Plastic Surgery
Technique Can Make You Look Years Younger! Amazing
Recorded Message Gives E x c i t i n g D e t a i l s.
Only $2.00 Plus Toll, If Any. Call 9 7 6 - F A C E.
Or you sell stocks and you run an ad like this:
How To Pick Low-Priced
Stocks That Are Likely To Double In The N E X T 90 -
Days! Expert Reveals Amazing Secret. Call (2 1 2) 9 7
6 - C A S H For Amazing Details. $2.00 Plus Toll, If
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Whatever. The point of all this is that there is now a
relatively new and exciting way to get people to actually pay
to hear your sales pitch!
But, let me offer a word of caution: When you promise an
inside secret, you must deliver. Don't ask them to call you at
another number to get what they have already paid for. That's
sleazy. And besides, it will turn people off. It will make
them less receptive to dealing with you. Instead, if you are a
real estate broker, give a really valuable tip on your
recorded message. Maybe you could tell the caller where and
how to get a daily list of new foreclosures. Tell him what to
do, where to go, what to say, what forms he needs and whatever
else would be helpful. Then, after you have delivered, you can
tell him to call your personal number if he needs more info.
Listen: Advertising can work two ways. If you really are not a
real estate or marketing expert, don't promote yourself. Hell,
all you're going to do is spend thousands of dollars to let
people in on the fact that you're an idiot. (There's a couple
of marketing newsletters out there that I'm sure glad I don't
have to sign my name to.)
But look, if you got some really good valid info you can
deliver in a recorded message, you'll position yourself as a
person who delivers and you'll whet their appetite for more of
Onward. I started this month's issue on the subject of sex
and, now that you've got me going, I think I'll rave on a
little more. You know, I very seldom use sex in the
advertising I create. I don't know why exactly, I just never
have. But darn it, it sure seems to work. It sure seems to be
the number one subject that occupies all of our "Enquiring
Minds." Remember, in my issue on Haldeman-Julius' Little Blue
Books how, back in the 1920s, the number one subject people
wanted to read about was sex?
Well, it's the same today. Go to any big city magazine stand.
Look at all those hundreds of magazines and you'll soon
discover you can divide them into two, approximately equal
SEX And Then.... Everything Else
And just look at this 976 number situation. I bet that 99.9%
of all 976 calls are sex-related. You know, that's sort of a
shame. Here's a great new way to generate leads and a positive
cash flow at the exact same time and hardly anybody is using
it except people selling titillation.
Another "sex story". Once upon a time, I was introduced to a
guy who claimed he was the greatest living income tax expert
in the world. I don't know if he was or not, but I do know he
went bankrupt not too long after I met him. Anyway, this guy
spent some really serious money in advertising in the Wall
Street Journal and his ads usually developed the theme of:
How To Pay
Well, his ads were, I understand, fairly successful. And then
one day, he got a picture of a beautiful, bosomy blond from a
local photographer and he used that picture in one of his ads.
Her picture did not belong in that ad. There was no connection
between a sexy blond and a study course on how to reduce
taxes. But guess what?
That Ad Was
He Ever Ran!
You figure it out. By the way, this guy was a PhD (I hear that
means "piled higher and deeper") and he even announced that
fact on his vanity license plate. And, being a PhD, he never
ran that ad again because he didn't feel it was consistent
with his "image."
Isn't that a hoot?
Enough rambling. Let's get back to this 976 business. You
know, I believe this may be one of the hottest new marketing phenomenons
to come down the pike in recent years. So far,
it's mostly being used on the heavy breathing crowd but, in my
opinion, that's going to change a bit. Today I was reading the
classifieds in the L.A. Times and I saw an ad that said this:
9 7 6 - B I G M O N E Y M A K
E R Winning Programs That Attract Millions.
Advertisements That Pull Thousands Of Dollars Daily.
Sure Success. 213/637-3781
called the number and talked to a woman who said she was
Martha Tucker. She said her company helps people get going in
the 976 area and they are giving a seminar (admission price
$10.00) at the L.A. Hilton near the airport on June 20th. She
also said her company offers a set of three tapes that reveal
everything you need to know to get in on the 976 bonanza. The
tapes are $39.99 and they don't take credit cards and, if you
send a check, they wait for it to clear before they ship. So,
I'm mailing them $40.00 cash today and I've asked them to
messenger the tapes to me ASAP. If the tapes contain valuable
info, I'll let you know in a future letter. In the meantime,
if you want more info in a hurry, you can contact them direct.
Ask for Martha Tucker and you might mention that I suggested
The name and address of the company
International Small Business Expo
Post Office Box 1006
Paramount, CA 90723
Want more ideas? Lordy, you sure are a glutton for idea
stimulators, aren't you? Well, lucky for you, my youngest son,
Bond, has compiled a list of 976 numbers that are safe
(relatively) for you to call that may give you some ideas.
You'll find them listed where I normally write some inane P.S.
A man so dedicated to his
subscribers he gave up his 'virgin ears' in their behalf."
California Treasure Hunt
Want A Scream
Dial Your Date
Horoscope Hotline -
Soap Opera Hotline
Woody Woodpecker Tells Dinosaur
P.S. And here's my usual inane
On June 12 (my birthday), Paulette
and I have decided to "skyout" for parts unknown. But don't
panic. We're coming back. Just give us 10-days or so.
Copyright © 2002 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights