I have written about an imbalance between the vendor market and businesses when it comes to hosting. I see more interest in hosting from the vendor community than I have from businesses. I wonder if all the new hosted communications companies will eventually drive more awareness of the market and subsequently more interest in subscribing to hosted services instead of purchasing equipment.
I recently met with the management team at GotVMail a hosted communications provider. They are focusing on the SMB market and offer a virtual account which enables you to have calls forwarded to a corporate division or any telephone number based on rules you define. This can be done at a relatively low price — $9.95/month to start and the company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
A slew of companies are looking to offer these sorts of services and GotVMail has a head start on many of them as they already have ten thousand customers. Furthermore the company seems to really understand marketing. I have frequently noticed that as some of the smaller competitors in this space are near-silent, GotVMail makes a lot of noise. They not only seem to excel at marketing, they have a good PR team as evidenced by their recognition in a slew of publications.
The strength of this offering is that it works with any sort of phone you have — VoIP, PSTN or wireless, allowing customers to manage the service fully online by allowing such things as uploading greetings and changing call forwarding information. This extremely feature-rich service also allows dial by name, web and e-mail delivery of voicemail, marketing extensions and music on hold.
No matter which companies in the hosted communications space you speak with, they will all tell you that one of the advantages such a service affords is that your phone system stays up, even if power or phone access is cut to your physical location. Company CEO Siamak Taghaddos was proud to reiterate this benefit to me saying this allows the phone number to be decoupled from the physical device.
The company told me they sell their service directly 95% of the time and have a reseller affiliate program allowing resellers to get commissions. Their equipment is located in
GotVMail is expanding quickly and to date they have achieved 99.994% uptime which is pretty impressive.
I asked how they compare to Vonage and they were quick to point out they are on the inbound side of the business. They are not offering cheap long distance but inbound flexibly and functionality. They consider VoIP service providers as their partners.
My take on the company is that they get it. There are more and more hosted communications companies coming on the market all the time. Marketing and public relations is what will separate the winners from the losers in this business. I think this company has a great shot at being one of the winners.