Free 60 second phone calls

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Free 60 second phone calls

Remember Jahjah's free phone service offer. Well, James Bowman over at has started a service with a different angle.They offer free calling to US48 phone numbers (all U.S. except Hawaii and Alaska), but records (with consent!) the calls and publishes them on their website. James said, "We hope to pay for the phone service with the ad revenue from people listening to the calls.It's as simple as that." To use the service, you simply dial their toll-free 866-460SECS number and then enter the number you wish to dial.

He explained that they envision a few different kinds of user for the phone service, such as people who are very price-conscious or shameless self-promoters who view it like reality TV - you give up privacy in exchange for fame.

The original plan was to limit calls to 60 seconds - hence the name, but during the beta period the limit is actually 6 minutes.

Here's a quick Q&A via email I had with James:

1) How are you terminating the calls? VoIP? Regular PSTN conference bridge?

VoIP. We're using Asterisk using SIP into Gafachi for termination and origination.

2) Aren't you losing quite a bit of money to terminate the call (not to mention paying for the 866 toll-free number? Even using VoIP would cost some money, albeit less. Can you explain the architecture?

Asterisk using SIP into Gafachi. Asterisk records the call into local disk then we encode the recordings and add them to the SQL database editors vet and tag the call web presentation uses Apache and mySQL with a Flash player for the calls.

[he didn't directly address the cost of termination]

4) What if they make a call and then realize they have to give personal info, like their social security number? Do you give them the option to delete the recording? I would assume there might be some liability risks for you if you don't - i.e. someone uses personal info for identity theft. Of course, they're idiots for knowing the call will go public, but in today's litigious society, better safe than sorry.

Yes, there is a disclaimer for both parties in the call itself, and calls are vetted by editors before they are published.

An interesting "free" phone calls model. Do you have a bit of exhibitionism in you? Feel like sharing romantic calls to your significant other? Of course, I don't think your significant other would be pleased to hear their private moments shared on the net all to save a buck. If you're feeling the voyeuerism inside you can also check out some sample recorded calls that has already posted online. Of course, all this effort just to save a few cents? Assuming an average of $0.10/minute and you use for 30 minutes per day, you only save $3. But I suppose $3/day X 30 days is $30/month saved.

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