Image via CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Back in the heydey of VoIP, circa 2006/2007 GrandCentral was the "buzz and da bomb" quickly gaining likely some hundreds of thousands of users before getting snapped up by Google and turned into GoogleVoice. But they had rivals, not direct competition, but services that did different things. Two of the rivals that ultimately fell to the wayside were TalkPlus and Jangl.
TalkPlus and Jangl each did something that today, many turn to GoogleVoice for. To be a "hook up" number for those in the dating world. While GoogleVoice has the Get lost feature where you can block anyone's number and send them a "this number is not in service" to the "dumped" or "jilted", TalkPlus gave people the ability to add a second number to the mobile phone by using the network to present a second number on the outbound, or route a call to your phone from that number-basically call forwarding on the inbound with data showing up telling the recipient what number was incoming, or spoofing the ANI and Caller ID on the outbound via the network switch. Jangl was a bit similar, but it used a series of numbers to pair up between callers. Jangl was eventually acquired by Jajah, as part of a mercy sale, with Michael Cerda taking on a BizDev role there for a short time.
Well now some dating service AshleyMadison is bringing back the combined ideas of both TalkPlus and Jangl for the hook up crowd. Both companies, TalkPlus and Jangl were ahead of their time, as the apps world was not really alive yet. Basically, only BB, Nokia Series 60 and Series 40 and some Windows Mobile devices were able to have more apps installed, and finding them, and often times getting them to work perfectly was an issue.
With companies like Twilio, Plivo and Voxeo squarely in the API space, and clients Voxbone in the numbers biz, and Flowroute in the SIP based origination and termination world, creating these kinds of services in the cloud isn't hard, so expect more of these "disposable" type operations to rise up.
One can only wonder if TalkPlus and its team led by John Todd, Jeff Black, Julie Lynch and Michael Topel had been around fully in the era of apps with iOS and Android, because back then, the idea of a private number was their's first, and the market for dating clearly defined. Same with Jangl as they cut deals with match.com but the uptake was limited, and the churn rather high.
Well today, people can use GoogleVoice for their dating number, but as the term coined by Microsoft in their counter to Google as a search engine service I can see "scroogled" taking on a whole new meaning too. Bada Bing!
-- Andy Abramson