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"Phone numbers should behave more like software." As a result, they've turned it into a business tool beyond simple communication.

You can connect your Burner number with Dropbox to auto-save voicemails and picture messages.

An additional 43% have used it for buying and selling on sites like e Bay and Craigslist.

But some people are just using it as a second personal number — 20% of Burner users have created one because they moved and just wanted a local number without losing their old one.

Burner, the app, wants to turn that idea of a discardable phone number into a positive business tool — and a way to safeguard yourself when dating.

Instead of giving out a personal cell phone number that can be reversed traced back to the individual, more men and women are signing up to give themselves a layer of privacy.Airbnb hosts and Etsy sellers have created burner numbers to put on their profiles so customers can contact them, without ringing their personal cell all night long."The peer to peer economy is connecting us in a new way to strangers, and what’s been clear to us is that text is a new way people want to communicate inside and outside those peer-to-peer markets," Cohn said.And that's increasingly become a problem in a world where you sell couches on Craigslist to strangers, give out your number to Tinder dates you've never met, let Airbnb guests staying in your home text you problems, or make a living selling crafts on Etsy. But it's not just a phone number like you use today."More and more stuff is just happening on one’s phone," Cohn said. Cohn and his co-founder Will Carter want to turn the phone number into a tool for more than just receiving calls and texts.The team initially underestimated how many different ways people would use a Burner number.Many use it for quick tasks like selling a couch on Craigslist so they don't have to give out their personal number.With Evernote, you can make an auto-reply bot so if an Airbnb guest texts "what's the wi-fi" it can respond without you typing out the password.There's an option to route and reply text messages to Slack — the new way Burner is handling much of its customer service requests."I think more people are comfortable with the idea that it's not a personal thing [to be using a burner]," Carter said."It’s to protect." Now, 44% of its users have created a burner number for online dating, the company told Business Insider although it declined to comment on just how many users it has (it was last rumored to be in the millions).

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