Profit from IM and VoIP?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Profit from IM and VoIP?

FaceBridge Research announced a plug-and-play solution for IM/VoIP networks and portals to profit from IM/VoIP service. According to FaceBridge, "What's been missing is the ability of any individual user to bill for their time while communicating with one or more other users over a standard IM/VoIP network. In other words, if I'm a lawyer or a "life coach" or a psychic or an "adult entertainer" or anything else, I should have the option to charge by the minute for my time communicating with other users."

An interesting concept indeed. Instead of pay-per-minute 1-900 psychic & sex phone numbers they aim to bring that model to IM and VoIP. Of course, there already are very successful sex sites that incorporate pay-as-you-go video streaming often with audio/VoIP. Not that I would know anything about that sort of thing. Of course, this particular model aims to bring "pay to IM & talk" to the masses instead of just the sex/porn industry. I should mention that there are already tons of websites that let you post your problem, such as a programming issue and then people will bid on solving your problem or you set the bidding price. One example is GoogleAnswers. You then have to pay the lowest or first bidder if they help you solve your issue.

The problem with these websites is that they are simply text and graphics online. Some IM or even voice and video integration would make it a killer app. Hmmm, maybe I should make a prediction right now that Google will add Google Talk to Google Answers with voice, video, and collaboration capabilities. Online consulting could be a huge revenue source for Google, so if they make Google Answers "the" place for bidding on problems and of course they take a cut of the revenue.

In any event, FaceBridge's system allows individual users of any IM/VoIP network to charge each other for time spent communicating. For instance, one AIM user may charge $1.99/minute to be reached by another AIM user.

The FaceBridge system requires no changes to IM/VoIP networks and no changes to user software or behavior.

Users communicate using their normal IM/VoIP client software and automatically exchange payments while doing so. For each paid communication, the service provider collects a transaction fee.

According to FaceBridge, "With voice and video over IM/VoIP networks, paid communications are a viable business model for professionals, educators, musicians, entertainers, and many others. Once people realize they can profit this way, they'll find many ways to use this hybrid of communication and commerce."

The first public website to use FaceBridge technology can be seen at This site caters to Apple Macintosh users of AOL's instant-messaging service (AIM).

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