I received an email this morning from Net-Numbers.com which claims to help you find your contacts' VoIP number by providing a centralized worldwide phone directory for all of the major VoIP providers, i.e.Vonage, Skype, etc.
Didn't I just discredit phone directories yesterday? Oh wait, that was printed phone books I didn't like -- I was pro-Internet phone directories.
Anyway, Net Numbers is a subscription-based model of about ~US$15 although they are having a 'special' of 6 months free. Looking at the website it didn't appear that it's been live for very long.
So to test a theory I had, I did a simple search on a common name, "Smith" and sure enough nothing came up. The directory database is really really really new. Ok, we won't hold that against them. There definitely is a need for a centralized VoIP directory, I'm just not sure if Net Numbers has the financial backing to pull it off. We need someone with Google's, Yahoo's or Microsoft's clout to pull a VoIP directory off. I do applaud Net-Numbers attempt at providing a centralized directory though.
Whoever does create a worldwide VoIP directory needs to make it non-proprietary and open to access. Of course, if it's open to anyone accessing it that could result in more SPIT (Spam over Internet Telephony) or other privacy concerns. Why do spammers and other criminals have to make life difficult?
Ok, let's have a vote. Who thinks Net Number's business model will work? Or perhaps post your thoughts on VoIP directories in general.
Also, here's the email they sent me:
One of the problems at present with VOIP Telephony is that there doesn't seem to be a central database or other form of directories of numbers for all the VOIP networks currently operating. If you are on Babble and your friend in Australia or America is on Skype, there is no way for you to find out their numbers unless you call them and ask them (See the Joke?).
During our Set-up phase you can Subscribe to Net Numbers
Free for 6 Months
Normal Price £10.00 for 3 years (about US $15.00)
This offer is Limited so Subscribe NOW.
Your on Vonage (go on let's pretend) and in the USA and your friend in the UK is on Babble.
Using the Net-Numbers Listings (or Directories if you prefer) you can search for them and find out their external VOIP address so you can give them a call - going from your local network - over the internet - and exit locally in their country, probably, for the price of a local call.
Well now, that's great for you because they were registered with Net-Numbers. Are you?
How are they going to find your VOIP telephone number if they don't know it and you're not registered as a subscriber?