A relatively unknown telecom company from Philadelphia has bought up 1.7 million 1-800 numbers, turning them over to a connected company that runs them as phone-sex hotlines, the AP discovered. BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin glossed the news:

They behave not unlike domain name prospectors who do the same with web addresses, only they convert many of these numbers into phone sex lines.

The company now controls 1.7 million toll-free numbers, which represent about 25% of all 800 numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Among them: 1-800-Metallica, 1-800-Cadillac, 1-800-Minolta, 1-800-Cameras, 1-800-Worship and 1-800-Whirlpool.

AP reports that the connection between the speculation activity and the phone-porn activity is this: A-1 Advertising, an actual phone sex business, shares a building, owners, and executives, with the company doing the 800 number buying.

Read the full story at BoingBoing.