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Posts from March 2007

Mark Sullivan Sees The Light

Pal Mark Sullivan, long a fixture on the IT and VoIP scene at has seen the light.

He's left the CMP online scoop sheet and turned in his trade publication reporter hat for something bigger and more worldly.

Starting soon Mark will be on the job at PCWorld covering VoIP and a few other things.

Mark is one of the class acts in the media. He always replies, even if the answer is he's not interested to calls. He treats news sources professionally and always is looking for the story. Hearing the news yesterday from Mark made me want to share his joy.

Congrats to a guy who can get the job done...

Something's Missing....

Longtime readers, of this blog, who actually visit the blog site, will notice something's missing. It's the wonderful Sitofono button that serves such a useful purpose, making it easy for others to reach me.

So everyone knows, I really love my Sitofono button, and more specifically the overall concept of click to call. But recently I realized that something's missing from click to call. That something, is relevance.

You see, my darling little Sitofono became the Voice 2.0 dialpad for prank calls or test calls or even tech support for people having issues with it in Italy when no one else was around. What's more since I pointed Sitofono to my GrandCentral number I was getting calls at all kinds of hours, and in some cases they were truly interrupting or even disrupting to things like meals or even yes, sleep. While the calls were not high in volume, the times were such that I had to say "arrivederci mon amore" for a short while, or go onto perpetual Voice Mail with GrandCentral. That was a non-starter as being reachable is my stock and trade and has been for many, many years.

But the problem is not Sitofono's alone. It's the nature of all Click to Call overall. You see, there's no relevance or intelligence behind it. It's simply, for now, a way to set up and bridge a call using SIP and PSTN call routing, dialing, trunking and termination.

For "Click to Call" to have meaning, it needs relevance and intelligence. It needs to discern and learn. It also needs rules. The combination of GrandCentral, who also has their own click to call, Sitofono for the international set up, and iotum's Relevance Engine moves click to call from being nothing more than a substitute dialing mechanism into being a real "reach me" service. Year's ago AT&T crafted a service called Easy Reach, which was really "Find Me, Follow Me" as we know it today. It was a 1.0 solution. In today's 2.0 world all we have taken is that decades old solution and migrated it to VoIP but really, what we end up having today in VoIP with "Find Me, Follow Me" isn't relevant to 2.0. It is still down in what I call Voice 1.5, where the only thing that has changed is the wire and who the bill comes from. As reference to what a Voice 1.5 company is think of your local cable MSO's Digital Voice or even Vonage, which doesn't really offer a 2.0 solution to a 2.0 world.

For Click to Call to really be relevant in a 2.0 world, it needs to be smarter and more advanced than the old "Easy Reach" service.

So here's my suggestion to all the click to call folks. Call pal, client, uber blogger and Voice 2.0 Manifesto "Mac Daddy" Alec Saunders and let him help you make Click to Call interruption free, smarter and simply relevant.

JaJah Announces A New CEO

JaJah has a new CEO.

He's Trevor Healy and comes with an impressive resume, a string of successes and a skill set perfect for growing the business.

My guess is JaJah will raise another round real soon and build for either an exit or if the war chest is large enough, start buying up like minded start-ups to expand the range of services they are offering.

No, I don't see them buying Vonage :-)

Gifting Minutes, Growing User Bases

Truphone users, which I'm one of on my Nokia E61, will be happy to know that yesterday the UK based company expanded their free calling program to the USA. This means that Truphone users here in the fifty states can make calls to forty countries for FREE.

At the same time, JaJah announced they crossed the two million user base, putting them in the league with Vonage in number of users. This is a healthy indicator that the market likes their model of making calls around the carriers, especially internationally.

Vonage: Over Reacting or Underinformed?

Mike Snyder, the CEO of Vonage thinks the doomsday media predicting the demise of Vonage may be wrong, and they put out a press release saying that yesterday.

In PR parlance this is called "Crisis Management" but sound crisis management doesn't begin when the problem hits. It is practiced every day by being in regular conversation with the media that covers you. In the time Mike Snyder has been the "boss" at Vonage never once have I been offered a briefing with him, and at this point I don't want one for all it will be is a bunch of message point, rehearsed, lawyer vetted words. (As a matter of fact I haven't been offered a briefing by Vonage in years, and since Mitchell "Mad Dog" Slepian moved on is his career I've only received a few notes from their outsourced PR agency, and one of those missives was to drink wine in NYC when I was there, an offer I couldn't refuse.) To get through this crisis Snyder needs candor, honesty and transparency. Just saying that Vonage is going to fight won't cut the mustard. He and Vonage need to say what they are going to do to make sure their customers, all 2.2 million of them are not cut off, not simply say the expected, that being that they plan or fighting the decision.

Snyder said in the release that Vonage has been "preparing" for months for this mess with Verizon, yet he doesn't go on and say how. What's more nothing that has come out really attacks the court's decision or discounts the lack of merits in the case filed by, and won by Verizon.

Additionally, nothing preemptive is being done by Vonage. Everything is reactionary, and like Vonage's own technology, just not there. And that's not how you play the crisis management game.

The V Battle

The Verizon battle with Vonage over patents in many ways reminds me of the tortoise and the hare. Sure that an old fable for children, but when one looks at Verizon one can only see the slower moving, hard shell the company puts out.

But this is more like a cartoon, or soap opera.

Consider this. Vonage came out of the blocks like the Roadrunner. Now it seems the Wylie Coyote like Verizon may be winning the race.

CNNMoney has this story.

My view is that with VONAGE stock now at 3 dollars a share that there is panic in New Jersey despite the press release on Friday that was done to ally fears amongst investors. With the amount of money Vonage has in the bank, about half a billion, and with what they now owe Verizon, plus a mounting legal bill, the best move is a sale....

Some may think Verizon end up with it, but there may be another suitor who has the technology and would be desiring the customer base out there.