Old VoIP Wine; New Web 2.0 Bottles

from the jajah-vu dept

We mentioned this back when the hype first came out about Jajah, but it’s hard to see how they can claim this model is even remotely new or revolutionary. Dialpad (which went through a ton of business model changes before eventually being bought by Yahoo) had a service identical to Jajah’s in the late 90s. Rather than a softphone based VoIP system, you simply type in your home or cell phone number and the number you want to call. The system calls you first, and then calls the other person. So, seeing the company promote it as something amazing and new seems a bit silly. Dialpad discovered that it was tough to make money with this model. At one point they only allowed calls to be one minute long — and if you wanted longer, you had to watch the screen of your computer and keep clicking a button to stay connected on a minute-by-minute basis (and the website showed ads, of course). It’s not clear how Jajah will make money, but as SiliconBeat notes, the site suggests that it may only allow free calls to last five minutes. Still, one of the problems that people have with the bubble mentality is that people don’t seem to remember the past very well. There doesn’t appear to be a single news article (so far…) that notes that this is an exact replica of a bubble-era business that went nowhere. It’s tough to even improve on old failed business models if no one even remembers them.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Old VoIP Wine; New Web 2.0 Bottles”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jaime says:

Dialpad was different

I don’t remember Dialpad providing call bridging — didn’t the one initiating the call have to use a headset with their PC? This to me is the huge difference with Jajah, since you can click on any phone number in your browser and then have a conversation on your regular telephone, without the stupid headset and such.

D Roberts says:

Re: Dialpad was different

That was a different incarnation of Dialpad. I used it during that time as well, but, as the OP said, they went through many different phases before Yahoo bought them. I do remember the call bridging but I only used it a couple of times. When the “click on ads to extend the call” idea came around I gave up.


Drew Robertson (user link) says:

What's Different

We recently implemented JahJah inside CallinSearch so we’re a little biased but…JJ’s bizmodel problem you mentioned is no different thanthat for any PC-based VoIP service like Skype, Estara, GoogleTalk, Yahoo, etc., etc. Vonage feels the pain as well as disintermediating PSTN carriers becomes a chump’s game. Integrating voice (and chat) within ecommerce, advertising, social networks and search (hey that’s us!) is the way to go. Stand-alone is not a long term strategy. And I don’t think JJ wants to go there.

Oh one more thing, Net2Phone sucked back in the 90s. They and everyone else have much better QoS today.

Brian McConnell (user link) says:

International Callback 2.0

If you include international callback services, which is essentially what this is, the idea dates back to the early 1990s. Callback is actually a better way to do this. You just ring a phone number once, hangup before it answers, and it calls you back. No need to be anywhere near a computer. No internet connection required.

Nothing Jajah is doing is technically innovative, it’s just callback with a web form, and web initiated callback has been around since the mid-1990s. What they have done is build a zero profit business that is set up for a very high churn rate (there’s nothing here to retain customers, such as a downloadable app that people will use a lot).

My guess is that since the blog search engines only go back a year or so, journalists now do not recall anything that happened before 2003.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...