Free web-based calling!

For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am big believer in frictionless sales.  (see an earlier post)

"Frictionless sales means reducing the pain for customers to adopt and use a service/product and consequently reducing the cost of sales and marketing and service to get a customer and generate revenue.  As I mention in an earlier post, "The less friction you have in your sales and delivery model, the easier it is to scale. The easier it is to scale the faster and more efficiently you can grow."

Well, if we thought we did that at Sipphone (full disclosure-it is a fund investment and i am on the board) with a fat client, I can tell you that we did much better with our newest release at Gizmocall.com.  At Gizmocall, users can now use their web browser, yes web browser, to make free calls to any mobile, landline, or SIP-based network.  With a simple Flash plugin, users get 5 minutes of free calling a day and 10 minutes if they register.  Congratulations to Michael, Jason, and the team for continuing to strive to lower the friction to using our service.  From a business model perspective, we clearly believe there is more to life than just minute stealing, so besides your usual upsell model for minutes and caller ID and other services, we plan on layering in some advertising.  Read Michael Robertson's blog for more:

My plan with Gizmo Call is to offer phone calls that will feel free because they are paid for with advertising. The popularity of free email services, news services and community sites demonstrates that people will often choose ad sponsored services over paid ones. Because Gizmo Call is written in flash we can insert advertisements into the experience in a helpful manner. If you call 1-800-FLOWERS we can tell you about the great San Diego-based company ProFlowers which is running Valentine's Day specials starting at $29.95 and offer to connect you to them at: 1-800-580-2913. If you need a plumber or a pizza just dial those words and we'll pop up a list of vendors you can talk to for those services. Not everyone will want advertising in and around their calls, but Google has proved that targeted advertising is actually useful and that's what we will strive for.                   

There's no advertising yet on Gizmo Call which is why free calls are limited to just 10 minutes. Eventually we'll have text, audio and video advertising - let your mind run with that one! Until then, use Gizmo Call to make some free calls and let me know how it works for you!

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This post was written by who has written 358 posts on BeyondVC.

5 Responses to “Free web-based calling!”

  1. Brian Brewder Jan 31, 2007 at 5:11 pm #

    I was just looking at GizmoCall.com and think the idea is interesting. Unfortunately, I can’t use GizmoCall because I don’t have a microphone on my computer nor do I have any plans of getting one just so I can use this service.

    I am not put off with the advertising model as long as they are non-intrusive (I don’t want to have to watch an ad before I can dial). If the ads are targeted well, I might even click on some:). We currently use a long distance card in order to control our long distance bills and it’s a pain.

    I really like the way the call feature works on Google Maps (you click on a phone number to call and provide a number for Google to call you at). The Google feature seems far more frictionless to me since I get to use any phone that is near me at the time. It would be nice to have the option of using either my computer or phone (though if I wanted to use my computer for a phone, I would probably sign up for Skype or something similar).

    If I was Gizmo Call, I would be seriously concerned that Google might decide to move into this space. Perhaps you can describe how they are planning for this level of competition (I assume the information is probably confidential, but might as well ask:)? The only strategy that I can see is hope that Google doesn’t move into the space and if they do, sell to a rival like Yahoo or Microsoft.

    I’ve been enjoying reading your blog for the last few months. I have found your posts to be well written and informative. Keep up the good work!

  2. Ian Wilson Jan 31, 2007 at 8:45 pm #

    I headed over to try out the service, I like what Michael Robertson does and his ability to disrupt. However, I found some serious friction. So in the spirit of constructive feedback for a potentially great service:

    I am sure you have worked with web based services that “only” required a plugin to work. I have also and it is a serious, often fatal requirement. A large portion of users, in my experience users simply dont want/dont trust/cant be bothered downloading plugins.

    The use of the term “Flash plugin” makes me uncomfortable, had I not read it on your blog (trusted source) I would have been annoyed as to me “Flash plugin” means “Flash” which means “already installed” which means no friction. But that is not the case. The fact that a download is required renders the flash part of the phrase irrelevant, it could be anything.

    Ok, so I have to download, I want to read the EULA (shudder, PC speak) but this tries to open a pop up window that my browser blocks. Well I could unblock it but by now the friction has ground me to a halt, I will try again sometime for the sake of supporting Michael, in respect to the time you put into your blog and because it looks like a service that could reduce my business costs.

    One other point, it seems a little premature to offer the service now with its 10 minute restriction? With a service that is potentially this disrupting would it not have been a better idea to go off with a big bang, to build momentum and overcome inertia?

    Finally a feature request, I assume “call PCs” means the Gizmo PC client? If so it would be great to have an all browser system, calling to and from browsers. If it already can do this perhaps more information about how this is done (on the web site) would be useful, although I am sure this is coming.

  3. Matt Feb 1, 2007 at 1:02 pm #

    Too bad Google beat you to it – Google Local will connect you to listed merchant numbers for free by calling your cell phone or landline and then connecting you.

    Since they have the infrastructure in place, it’s only a matter of time until they start offering calls for every number.

  4. alan Feb 6, 2007 at 9:52 pm #

    I think there’s a big risk that GizmoCall’s customer growth will fast outpace its ability to earn advertising revenue without a media network behind them. I’ve written more on that here:
    link to idiots.blogspot.com

  5. sudipta Sep 19, 2007 at 1:03 am #

    IF some one can offer free call, like one can make free call to europe etc, then I will prefer free call.

    If free call can-not be provided, then I pay for the call. (so we have any third option????)

    Free Conference call FROM link to nocostconference.com

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