Archive for the ‘VOIP’ Category

Jaxtr - Beware the Dark Side

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Jaxtr logoMuch hype has surfaced around a new Valley start-up named Jaxtr. The buzz began after LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke jumped shipped to become CEO of Jaxtr. Why all the hype? Why all the fuss? Well, if Jaxtr were a cake, then we’d need to mix a little bit of VOIP with a little bit of widget to achieve this delicate offering. Think of it as Jajah meets embedding.

Jaxtr allows you to receive incoming phone calls by embedding a widget within your profile on a given social network (MySpace, hi5, Friendster, and so on). The process works as follows:

  1. Joe visits your profile.
  2. He enters his phone number.
  3. He then receives a call.
  4. After Joe picks up, you receive a call.
  5. You pick up.
  6. You chat with Joe about your love for poetry and gardening for hours.

It does sound strikingly similar to Jajah, doesn’t it?

A couple of points to note:

  • Jaxtr provides the ability to receive voicemail if you are not present for a call.
  • You are able to block unwanted callers and/or provide the ability for only certain friends to call.
  • Caller phone numbers are never revealed.
  • A link in an e-mail signature can be used in place of the widget.

Revenues will be generated via enhanced features and advertising.

I definitely think that this company has a good thing going. However, I often enjoy stepping over the fence and playing devil’s advocate. In this case, I think that a lot of bloggers and PR juggernauts have overlooked a crucial element. Let me present my case, your Honour…

A Jaxtr call is essentially an anonymous call from anyone viewing a social network profile to the profiled user. Now, if I’m not mistaken, a majority of social networks are tailored around the teenage demographic. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now all of a sudden, you get a small percentage of sick, perverted individuals calling up 15 year old girls with ill intentions. Albeit this is definitely a minority crowd, the predicament is still present at all times. The only prevailing force is parental intervention (this is assuming that prevention was absent in the first place; hence the teenager roaming the social network). However, if the teenager is home alone, who knows where this simple, innocent conversation may lead and what kind of details the caller may be able to extract.

This level of voice communication is really the first of its kind to expand the social networking horizon. If parents thought they had problems with their children posting personal information and contact details before, Jaxtr is going to provide a whole new world of challenges.

I’m not trying to bash this offering, but simply provide an analysis from an alternative point-of-view. I will be the first to praise the company if it is able to implement preventative measures to overcome this hurdle, although I’m not convinced it can be done without hampering the user experience. I’m afraid that for some, Jaxtr will equal jail.

All it takes is one malevolent call for this to turn into a PR nightmare.

I nervously await the public launch…

Jajah + Apple = iPhone with VOIP?

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Jajah logoRumours are swirling around a possible deal between VOIP up-and-comer Jajah and cultural icon Apple. News of a possible deal first spawned from a MacDailyNews article. Apparently, co-founder Daniel Mattes has been spouting about a possible partnership. The company was contacted about an announcement, but had no news to report.

An announcement may come as early as Monday.

Jajah has maintained a relatively low profile thusfar. The porn star of online VOIP, Skype, garners most of the attention. But Jajah is quickly gaining ground and some are calling it the “Skype Killer”, including myself.

Why all the fuss about a pending deal? What may come of it?

Well, as an announcement is not yet official and details are scarce at best, I think it suffice to say that the structure of such a deal is inconceivable. However, I will tell you why this deal is very important for one of the two players - Jajah.

As I previously mentioned, Jajah has flown below the radar for quite some time. This can be seen as good and bad. It is good when you are in stealth mode and want to conceal your product offering and feature set. But the company is at a time when exponential growth and mainstream penetration is essential to compete on a higher level. A deal with the king of PR, Apple, would not only raise the profile of Jajah, but also create instant credibility among those unfamiliar with this VOIP insurgent.

Apple, on the other hand, would benefit from a solid offering in an area that is not a core competency. Though I do not see this deal as being as important for Apple, I still believe it validates a push by this tech monolith toward perpetual innovation and a cutting-edge product downline.