They call it "white label" so no one knows who is providing the service. So Voxeo ends up letting the world know, or equals does, so now everyone knows thanks to our pal Tom whose behind the new social voice platform. It seems they are going with a hybrid ad funded and subscription model.
In a long note to me, the equal Biz Dev team let me in on more...
Equals Executive Summary
In the “always-on” communications climate of today, people want and need to always be connected with friends and associates. This need has driven many of us to manage an ever-increasing number of various communications methods, including multiple social networks, voice lines, email and IM accounts, etc. While this proliferation of various communications methods has increased the speed of communication, they have also reached a point of declining productivity as many users are on “information overload.”
Equals has developed solutions with a foundation built on strong digital identity technology that empower users to maximize, yet simplify, their interactions with other people. Equals has both the leading technology and first mover advantages, and is poised to be the key enabler of choice, privacy and control in this identity-centric communications ecosystem.
To leverage rapid user adoption and virality of social networks, our applications are initially available through Facebook and other social networks. However, there is immense potential for wireless carriers to offer our services as they can significantly increase their user’s voice and data usage. Equals is poised to be the key enabler of Choice, Privacy and Control in this identity-centric communications ecosystem.
The introduction of Party Line™ is the first phase of the Equals platform. Party Line™ is an easy to use social networking utility that enables users to initiate an instantaneous group phone chat, thereby adding voice to social networking.
Instead of having to call multiple people at different numbers, the user can now call one number, or with one click of the mouse, be connected live with their group of friends without having to download any software or remember any pass codes.
Currently, Party Line™ is offered free of charge and exclusively through Facebook, however, users can invite their non-Facebook friends using SMS and Email invitations. Party Line™ entered the market in early March 2008 and has attracted over 60K new subscribers in its first month and is growing at over 20% per week.
Our second service offer, Buzz Me™ is targeted at busy, mobile professionals. Buzz Me™ is an automated assistant that will empower users to manage various ways to communicate without marginalizing their communications experience. In addition, it will allow users to maintain control of various means of communication (for example a mobile phone about town, Skype when traveling, IM in the office, Facebook and LinkedIn for social and business networking).
Equals will derive revenue using both ad-funded transactions and subscription models. Party Line will be provided free of charge to end-users. As an audio publisher, every call will be ad-sponsored with an inserted voice ad. Equals ad units are superior to those on Radio because they are targeted (1:1 based on the user technographic, location, context, name of the Party Line, etc.) and they are interactive – the user can press a key to receive a coupon, get connected live or just receive an address. Consequently our ad spot rates as well as per impression rates can be higher than those of a traditional audio publisher such as a radio station.
In addition, the web and mobile portals for our services independently provide rich media experiences that also lend themselves to high value, targeted advertising to our users, making the ad funded revenue streams for Equals capable of not only covering the costs of operating the service, but actually generating significant profits.
We believe that our initial offering, Party Line, alone is capable of attracting millions of subscribers within the first year of operation as we can leverage the virality of social networks and generate very high user adoption levels.
Alternately, Equals will also enter into partnerships with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) MVNOs who will provide value added services to their subscribers in a model that is similar to RIM’s Blackberry. Equals will receive a share of the revenue derived from a monthly subscription for the service.
As the web and mobile add more and diverse ways of communicating and interacting with others, digital identity will become fundamental to how we relate and communicate in the online world. Digital identity will allow us to trust that our privacy is maintained; yet give us the freedom to interact in a way that gives us control over these exchanges.
The Equals’ solutions support a vision where users choose to compose their communications and social interactions from best of breed authentication, social networking, telecommunications and data sharing
Equals has the leading technology and first mover advantage and is poised to be the key enabler of Choice, Privacy and Control in this identity-centric communications ecosystem and thus represents an extraordinary investment opportunity.