The VoIP wars continue as value oriented Earthlink are expected to announce next week that they are becoming another blended player in the VoIP/IM game updating what was called Vling and making sure it's free. It seems every portal and all the access players wants into Voice with Lycos jumping in earlier this week. At some point one has to wonder how much of Skype's traffic moves back to where it came from and the users return as their original communities start to offer similar features that are also free.
According to what I've heard Earthlink's plans around Mindspring are to roll out free voice calling capabilities next week that also features real-time text (instant messaging), access to free voicemail and EarthLink Webmail. Earthlink's MindSpring VoIP/IM users will have access to one identity for e-mail, instant messaging and phone calls over the Internet. PC-to-PC calls are free, and customers can also dial traditional telephone users at the reduced rate of 2¢ per minute. New EarthLink/MindSpring users will also receive 30 free minutes of calls to traditional phone lines.
In many ways this mirrors what Yahoo is doing. They both seem to though fall well behind Michael Robertson's Gizmo Project that has in my mind captured the best of what Skype has to offer (i.e. free and easy) with true Voice 2.0 manifesto that lives iotum's Alec Saunders or Yahoo Brad Garlinghouse's collective visions, yet works off of SIP, the most reliable standard in the IP telephony world.