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1-800-PetMeds Barks Up a Storm on NASDAQ


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Pet prescription company creates a publicly traded brand with their toll free number

Another in my series of posts highlighting companies who have made incredible use of their toll free vanity phone number.

petmedsFounded by Marc Puleo in the go-go days of the internet, 1-800-PetMeds is yet another perfect seven-digit mnemonic for a toll free number that matches both criteria for a perfect toll free vanity:

1.) Easy to remember

2.) Describes the service and product to a tee; i.e., you hear the name 1-800 ________ and you know what they are selling.

1-800-PetMeds is also an example of a company that took its toll free vanity number and incorporated it into both its name as well as its web domain name. How successful is 1-800-PetMeds? In the NASDAQ listing for the company – symbol PETS, it says that it has a market capitalization of an astonishing $438,316,800.

Nearly half a billion dollars of equity in a website that has weathered the storms of dot-com crashes and recessions. And its loyal fanbase of phone and web customers seems to be growing, much to the dismay of some of the companies who have tried to litigate 1-800-PetMeds out of business. What I find most fascinating about these businesses is that they have incorporated the phone number AND the website branding into a single name. We’ve mentioned other sites like 1-800-Flowers doing this, as well, and while this may not be an option for many small businesses who have established and entrenched brands, I do NOT recommend that anyone invest in a radio or print magazine (or even a Yellow Pages ad) without having a toll free vanity number that matches the above criteria.

In the early days of 1-800-PetMeds, the company employed celebrity pet-lovers such as Betty White of the hit 80s show “Golden Girls.” But 1-800-PetMeds, like many other firms, found that the true marketing potential of their offering was in the memorability of their website and toll-free phone number. As I wrap up my series this month on examples of companies that have leveraged toll-free phone numbers to great success, this lesson shouldn’t be lost on any of us that call ourselves “marketers.”

Now here’s a challenge for any of the Frost & Sullivan or McKesson analysts out there who cover the telecom industry – who’s done a study of the customer acquisition cost for marketing memorable versus random toll-free numbers?

Originally published Oct 20, 2009, updated Oct 24, 2022

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