AOL TotalTalk is no more

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Randy Savicky
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AOL TotalTalk is no more

Aswath noticed that it appearred AOL was cancelling their TotalTalk service. When you go to www.totaltalk.com you are greeted with this message: "We are very sorry to inform you AOL® Enhanced Services ("AOL ES") has decided to discontinue offering the TotalTalk™ service. For this reason, the TotalTalk service will be terminated on or about November 30, 2006."

Andy basically says TotalTalk was killed in favor of AOL's new PhoneLine service.
Andy says that TotalTalk was basically AOL VoIP 1.0 which helped give birth to PhoneLine resulting in AOL VoIP 2.0. Some interesting thoughts by Andy you should definitely check out.

The difference between TotalTalk and PhoneLine is that TotalTalk was more of a Vonage-like solution to replace your home phone line (hardware ATA), and PhoneLine is a 100% software-based (softphone) VoIP solution that supports both outbound and inbound (DID number) dialing. PhoneLine is an interesting product, but it has to battle the "me too" factor with the likes of Google Talk, Skype, Gizmo, and others. I should point out that AOL TotalTalk was riding on the Level3 network and really didn't add much value or features that you can't get from any of a dozen VoIP providers. AOL was simply lost in the shuffle of the plethora of VoIP providers out there - many of which also ride on Level3 and with the same exact rates.

Ask any of your techie friends if you knew AOL did VoIP. I bet most didn't know. I bet many average people know Vonage does VoIP but ask about AOL and they would probably say "AOL does VoIP?" Who would have thought that AOL with one of the most well-known brand names would get lost in the VoIP marketing wars?

If AOL wanted to compete with the likes of Vonage, perhaps they should have copied Vonage's marketing model by spending millions of dollars on TV commercials with a catchy tune. Or they could have entered a price war and offered $10/month unlimited VoIP service just to attract customers. Sure they'd probably eat millions of dollars in the first year, but they needed to do something drastic to stand about the "me too! me too!" VoIP service provider crowd.

Who am I kidding? In the end, even if AOL spent millions, the cable and phone companies are still going to win the war against the single play VoIP providers.


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