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.

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  1. identicon
    Brian McConnell, 27 Jun 2006 @ 1:45pm

    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.

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