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Tag Archive for 'jajah'

Commercial break (a kind of)

Jajah ShirtI have been enjoying writing at ProBargainHunter for several months now. Discovering bargain hunting websites, learning money saving tricks, and reading your wonderful feedback is what makes me sit long sleepless nights in front of my laptop. There are days however when I feel extra rewarded and today is one of them.

FinancialWeb

FinancialWeb is an independent financial portal full of personal finance related educational resources. The kind of information you will find there varies from mortgage to taxes and from insurance to credit cards. FinancialWeb has been sponsoring ProBargainHunter for a while (see their banner at the front page) and today they renewed the contract for 3 more months. Give them a visit at FinWeb.com and if you happen to drop them a note say “hi” from Yan at ProBargainHunter! :-)

Jajah

I wrote about Jajah back in November. Free international calls is what many will find attractive with Jajah. Apparently the team liked my November review so much that they decided to send me a special “thank you” gift. The company shop in Europe wouldn’t send it to the US and Frederik Hermann, the marketing manager in the US, went as far as arranging it to be hand-delivered with his friend visiting Europe at that time. Today the shirt came in the mail. What can I say, I am flattered!

Finding your way in free telephony (Poll)

It seems like a new IP telephony company announces launch every day and it is getting harder and harder to figure out how you can use each since every one has some features that competitors don't.

I have spent some time sorting out what I know and summarized my knowledge in this blog post. I didn't mean to cover all the possible features each service offers but rather to highlight the differences. I specifically made accent to cover the free functionality. Usually you can loosen the restrictions or get additional features if you subscribe to a premium plan or pay per feature.

Skype Free PC to PC calls. Free PC to phone calls in the US until the end of 2006. Free teleconferencing for up to 5 people. Larger conference calls (Skypecasts) are also free but require prior registration via the website.
Once unlimited free PC to phone promotion is over, the only other feature that attracts me in Skype is teleconferencing (I use it for online gaming). In addition international plans from Skype (not free) is a good alternative when my regular provider is giving me hard time with voice quality. Skypecasts is something I would like to explore more but never have time.
Jajah You initiate a call from the web and then get a call back to continue the conversation via the phone. Free calls in the US and between some countries for registered members. Moble telephony is available for phones running Symbian OS or Java.
Free international calls is the most attractive functionality. Unfortunately the countries I call most often are not included. Read my detailed Jajah review here.
GrandCentral You get a local number and can register up to 3 of your phones to be dialed in a sequence when you receive a call. Unlimited inbound calling, 30 days of voice mail storage, on the fly conversation recording. In addition you get custom greetings and distinct rings but I never used them.
Typical usage: If I have a project that requires giving out a support number, I will get it from GrandCentral and register my and my partners' phones with it. This way if we get a call there will always be someone to answer.
PrivatePhone by NetZero You get a local number and a storage for up to 10,000 voice messages (500 per day limit). You can check your messages online or play them out via an embedded widget on your blog or website.
It is hard to find a good usage for this one since all the number does is it forwards the caller to your voice mail. Might use it for my eBay or CraigsList auctions to add credibility to my listings and provide a way to communicate with me for those who hate doing it online.
Jaxtr Currently in private beta and not publicly available. Reportedly will allow to embed a widget into your blog or website to allow everyone call you without knowing your real number.
I plan to use it at my blog as soon as the service becomes available. The idea of having people call me while reading my blog sounds appealing. If it doesn't work out that well -- I can always take down the widget. ;-)

In addition I use GoogleTalk for occasional PC to PC calls however Skype has really taken the place lately thanks to the conference calling feature which GoogleTalk doesn't have.

If you use these or other services and know more free telephony tips -- I would love to hear from you. Also make sure to take this poll.

Save on your international calls with Jajah

JAJAHI have just discovered a company that will let you make free calls to a number of countries around the world using your regular land line phone. The company name is Jajah. It is a start-up founded by two Austrians Roman Scharf and Daniel Mattes and headquartered in Mountain View, CA and Luxembourg.

So how do I call for free and what is the catch? From their web site:

The JAJAH Free Global Calling Plan applies to land line and mobile calls to and within the United States; Canada; China; Hong Kong; Singapore and Taiwan and it applies to landline calls to and within Australia; UK; Germany; France; Italy and most other European nations

There is no catch as far as the pricing goes. All calls between these countries are really free (note, the second group of countries excludes calls to cell phone numbers). The only thing is that both the calling and the receiving part have to be Jajah registered users (the registration is free and only took me a minute of my time). There is also a pretty lax limit of 1000 free minutes per month that you shouldn't exceed to stay within their definition of "fair use".

So how does it work? It really is very easy and you can try it for yourself right now -- no registration needed -- the company is giving away a free 5 minutes call to anyone who wants to try their service. You can use the 5 minutes to call any number around the world. To give it a try go to their home page, type your phone number, type your friend's number and click the big green CALL button. First your phone will ring. Pick it up and wait till it connects you with your friend. That is it.

If you happen to have friends or relatives in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, UK, Germany, France, or Italy -- this is a really easy way to save on those international calls. If you don't see your country in the list then take a look at their rates page. You might like what you find there as the rates seem to be pretty competitive.

Now, before I call I really want to know if this is a free call. Guess what, they got it covered! Here is how you check:

You can see if your friend is reachable for FREE after you type in his phone number and hover the mouse to the call button - if it's free you will see: "This call is FREE"

If you don't see "This call is FREE" -- make sure you are calling one of the countries above. If this is the case then send your friend an email and have them sign up to the service. When they sign up they will register their work, home and cell number to their account. These are the numbers you should be calling to qualify for the free service.

Now, free is great but how do the companies like this stay afloat? Here is what CNN Money has to say about it:

Economically, there are two tricks to making this work. First, the Mountain View, Calif., firm does charge for some calls -- to European mobile phones, for example -- and for services such as conference calls. On average, Scharf says, Jajah is making $10 monthly from each paying customer. These fees subsidize the free calls.

In a nutshell the paid customers subsidize your free calls. Well, this pretty much looks like any Web2.0 venture these days, doesn't it?

Update 11/15: I just called Scott @ OzBargainBlog in Australia to test the service. I should say the voice quality wasn't perfect but it wasn't too bad either. The usual delay and some static -- average for an international call.

Update 11/19: What does FREE.YOUR.VOICE mean and who is this Jajah man? This web site may give you some idea.




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