Why Jajah. Rebtel, and Others Like Them Will Fail
Thoughts about Rebtel, Jajah, and others have swirled about the blogosphere. Recent examples include Luca, Andy, Jeff, Pat Phelan, and plenty of others. I'm ready to weigh in on this subject, and you can probably tell what that opinion is by the subject of my blog posting.
Now I should say up-front that both Rebtel and Jajah may, in fact, be perfectly fine companies. I certainly don't have anything against them, personally. However, what I do have a problem with is how they are basically asking me to change my dialing habits to use their services. What's in it for me? Saving money? That's just so Voice 1.0.
Unlike a lot of people, I actually have a knack for remembering phone numbers, especially if it's a number I call often. It's actually faster for me to dial the number from memory than it is for me to look it up in the phone's addressbook. I just want to dial and go. You know what? Most of the non-technies I know barely know how to use their address book, and they use it because they don't remember the phone numbers. I can't expect most people to use any other "application" on the phone. In fact, they may not even know how to program their address book. Someone else likely did it for them.
Basically, anything that affects how an end user dials their phone, whether it be how they dial their phone or what number they dial, is destined to fail with all but the most hardcore users.
So that brings me to Jajah and Rebtel. Jajah is basically "click to call" on a mobile phone handset. Is anyone going to do this? Maybe, but not me. Too much work for too little savings. Rebtel? You're asking me to dial a different number to call someone and go through extra work to set up a phone call? Please.
The only "mobile" solution I've seen that even comes close to being as simple as dialing my phone is Truphone. And that's because they are taking advantage of Nokia's SIP Stack on their E series and N series phones. At least from what I've seen/read so far, everyone else fails the grade. Everyone.
At least with Softphones like Gizmo Project or Skype, or even a service like Vonage, there isn't a substantial change in how you dial your phone numbers. Of course, I've heard numerous complaints from customers of Vonage-like services about things like 7 and 10 digit dialing, so even they aren't perfect.
If you're going to ask me to change how I do things, either make it easier or make it work my while. Cost savings, quite simply, isn't compelling enough of a reason for me to change.