VOIP provider Jajah Sept. 17 launched a new application that lets users make free 2-minute Web phone calls from Twitter.
[email protected], a beta for Jajah users in the United States, lets users call others in the [email protected] program from anywhere they access Twitter, including mobile phones or PCs via Twitter applications such as Seesmic or TweetDeck.
Why only 2 minutes? Jajah said it considers 2 minutes the "verbal equivalent of a tweet" or Twitter message, but free calls also cost the company a bundle if a lot of people use the service.
To make a call, Jajah users can send a tweet with "@call @twittername," with "twittername" representing the Twitter handle of the person being called. Users' phones will then ring and the call will be connected. The caller and the call recipient must both be Jajah users for the call to connect. See how it works in this Jajah video.
However, the beta service is currently only available to selected Jajah users. Those who want to see if they're among the chosen must log into their Jajah accounts and check for a Twitter Calls link under My Services on the My Account page. If users don't see this and they want to try [email protected], they must send an e-mail to [email protected] for an invite.
Jajah suggested that users tweet, "Call me free-reply with @call" or add [email protected] to their account information to let other Jajah users know they're participating in the beta.
Out of respect for privacy, users may only make calls to people who follow them on Twitter and all contact details will be kept private, so calling via [email protected] doesn't give out the user's phone number.
Jajah's use of Twitter with its free voice-over-IP service is part of a recurring theme for the startup. As noted on GigaOm, Jajah in 2008 partnered with Yahoo to let users make calls via Yahoo Instant Messenger.
Angling for enterprise customers for its cloud calling services, Jajah partnered with Microsoft in August to provide SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking services for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2.
Clearly, Jajah recognizes the importance of buddying up to big brands.
The company's pitch is that Web calls with Jajah are even easier to make than calls using Skype because Jajah's cloud-based calling requires no headsets, downloads, software or hardware, CEO Trevor Healy told eWEEK in August. While this beta is aimed at consumers, Jajah must hope that plenty of Twitter users will leverage [email protected] and open the door for business users as well.
Twitter is proving to be an effective marketing tool for businesses as well as an efficient, real-time messaging platform for consumers. If [email protected] gains traction on Twitter, more users may find themselves subscribing to use Jajah's free services. If Jajah proves itself for those users, businesses will come calling. That's the normal adoption crossover in this Web 2.0 world of social networking sites.