One of the major factors that led TMC to decide to launch Internet Telephony magazine
back in 1997 was that we saw VocalTec launching products in the space which allowed telephony to travel over IP networks - and just like that the IP communications market was born.
Prior to this point, voice over frame relay was the preferred way to transmit voice over a packeted network.
When we launched Internet Telephony, we invited VocalTec co-founder
and CTO Lior Haramaty to write a column in the publication - after all, no one knew more about the technology he helped invent than well, him!
Getting back to present-day Vocal-Tec, the company has merged with magicJack parent Ymax Corp. and recently raised
its revenue guidance slightly and is looking to officially launch magicTalk
- a PC-based service offering free US calling.
Back in August, TMC ran a piece
on magicTalk and now the company says it has 100,000 beta users and 10,000 downloads per day. The magicTalk one-month Alexa rank is 386,430 up from 893,141 (lower numbers correspond to higher rank) and their Alexa chart
is certainly improving as the chart below shows.
My two cents are it is tough to compete with Skype
in the VoIP space with a new offering but magicTalk has used television advertising to sell VoIP service in a way which turned an unknown company into a household name overnight. They used marketing well and although they have had some controversy surrounding them, I have always considered Ymax to be great promoters.
One of the past issues the company had was when they launched, they made some claims about their technology which were a bit over the top and many industry bloggers went ballistic in response. Moreover, the company has been called out about its inability to provide live voice service calls - but in reality if live support calls cost about $15 per interaction, how can you expect to get these bundled into service which costs about $40/year
I reached out to the company for more information about what they're up to but they weren't immediately available for comment.