FreeConference.com Team to Attend Catalyst Atlanta 2016!

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Catalyst is a yearly convention which is taking place on October 5th through 7th in at the Infinite Energy Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. It boasts a host of speakers, labs, and leadership events that are designed to create the next generation of church leaders, and are sure to excite your ambition. According to their website, “It’s common in our culture to sort, divide, and exclude: to look out for ourselves, make it at all costs, and leave others in our wake. But Jesus is building something uncommon. It’s time for a family meeting”.

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FreeConference.com Proud Sponsor of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s 2016 House Party

Princess Margaret FundraiserThis isn’t like the house parties that you may have attended in your wilder years. This October 5th, 2016, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation will be throwing a house party at the Addison’s Residence in downtown Toronto, helping to raise funds for a sophisticated robot that will be essential in complicated surgical procedures at the hospital. Instead of keggers and beer hats, guests will be treated to an evening of casual fine dining and an exciting auction.Read more →

And the Winner is…

Roscoe C. of Washington DC!!!

Congratulations to our FreeConference.com iPad winner and a huge Thank You to everyone who filled out our survey – your feedback is incredibly important to us. We take everyone’s opinions and suggestions to heart and will be making some cool updates to the FreeConference.com site, and to our Mobile Apps as well. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

Here is some of the feedback we received through the survey:

“Didn’t realize there were so many features – until I saw them on the survey – so I need to check them out”
“I would like to know more about pinless entry, text-message notifications and mobile apps please.”
“I did not know video and web conferencing was available with this service. If it is free, I would definitely use it–just don’t know how.”

Happy Conferencing!

A look back at 2015

Last year was a huge year for all of us here at FreeConference.com – we expanded our team, redesigned our entire product and launched a completely overhauled website, and on top of it iotum Inc (our parent company) was honored with inclusion on the Inc 500, Profit 500, and the Deloitte Fast 50 and 500. Here’s a look back at some of our biggest changes and a little bit of insight into our process.

First, the biggest and most obvious change: our …. well, everything! We completely overhauled the whole product – we introduced download-free video and screen sharing, international numbers, PINless-entry and more. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though; let’s start where we all do, the website.

Some of you may remember our old website – needless to say, if we were going to make changes, this would be the place to start. The whole project took us the better part of a year – from the earliest designs, to copy and through pretty intensive analytics efforts, this was one BIG project.

old and new freeconference.com websites
Old vs. New FreeConference.com home pages – what a difference!

But it didn’t just stop at the surface of the website, there was a lot of internal user interface design happening in tandem. This wasn’t just a facelift, after all, this was a complete product overhaul, and one we were determined to do right.

In the summer we began a private beta test of the new product. Over the span of 3 months we engaged with a core group of long-time users to help us build the new FreeConference; we wanted to know what worked and what didn’t, what they wanted that we didn’t have, and how we could make our service easier to use. Ultimately, we ended up with a conference dashboard that looks something like this:

old and new freeconference.com dashboards
Old vs. New FreeConference.com dashboards – simplified and streamlined!

As we neared the end of our beta tests, we were finally ready to launch some two of our biggest new features, ones we’d been excitedly testing in our offices for months: download-free video and screen sharing.

When we created FreeConference 15 years ago we were the only independent, free, web-based conferencing product (and not just all together, we were the only one in each of those categories) and, at the time, it was a revolution. But times have changed, and so have we. Phone conferencing will always be the core of our product, and we will always strive to make our phone-conferencing systems as high quality and easy to use as possible, but it was time to adapt – and since we’ve never been in the business of simply borrowing someone else’s technology, that meant it was time to innovate (you don’t get to be the first conference calling company to support a call of over 250 people by waiting for someone else to do it first).

And so we developed an HD, in-browser, no-download, completely integrated, totally free platform for screen sharing, and web and video conferencing.

Download free video and screen sharing from FreeConference.com
Screen sharing in action!

Like I said, it was a big year.

Since we launched video and screen sharing we’ve been hard at work developing even more amazing, free features – including PIN-less call entry, text-message notifications, and mobile apps – and affordable paid bundles for our premium add-ons, because every business should be able to afford truly great conference calling.

We’re so proud of our entire team for pulling off such a huge amount of work in such a short time – and we can’t WAIT to show you what we have in the pipes for 2016.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
The FreeConference Team

News Article: Telespan, January 17, 2005 – FreeConference.com

TeleSpan’s 2005 Predictions

Here’s what I think!

Elliot M. Gold, Publisher, Electronic TeleSpan

TeleSpan’s Prediction #1:

Freeconference.com grows to 4% of North American market by 2007

Out of nowhere, Freeconference.com has grown to 2% of the North American service bureau market (Electronic TeleSpan, November 8, 2004, p. 4). While many feel TeleSpan is nuts to even write about Freeconference as its calls are “free,” you have to begin to ask yourself: How much difference is there between “free” and 1.78 cents a minute, a rate I’ve seen from an auction for toll-free automated voice calls? On top of that, we’re seeing folks bolting from North American service bureaus and going to long-term hosted agreements, like IBM going to Avaya/Spectel, Latitude customers moving toCisco/Latitude, and Oracle leaving Raindance to manage its own calls internally. Based on Freeconference.com’s market share today, I’m predicting it could double that share by 2007.

Just a note to those who have figured out Freeconference.com’s business plan, and how it actually does make money on those “free” calls. You might think that current regulatory trends could hurt Freeconference.com’s business plan. Just remember how slow the regulatory process is and how full of holes it is, before you conclude that I’m wrong.

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Reprinted from the January 17, 2005 issue of Elliot Gold’s Electronic TeleSpan, with permission.

TeleSpan is published as an electronic bulletin 40 times a year for $377 prepaid. TeleSpan will license the right to make copies upon request. For subscriptions, contact TeleSpan at +1-626/797-5482, or email us (info@telespan.com), or visit our website: http://www.telespan.com

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FreeConference.com News Article: Telespan, August 30, 2004

Freeconference.com reports 35% sequential growth in minutes, nearly double year over year, and adds call recording using MP3 files

Chugga, chugga, chugga… it’s like The Little Engine That Could.*

Freeconference.com, about which many in the industry have their doubts, came through once again with growth at or better than the rest of the industry. For the second quarter, Freeconference.com reported year-over-year growth of 94% and sequential growth of 7%, when measured in terms of conference call minutes. That compares to results I reported in last week’s Electronic TeleSpan (ET, August 16, 2004) from Raindance, which reported year-over-year growth of 25% but negative 1.5% growth sequentially, Premiere, which reported year-over-year growth of 36% and sequential growth of 8.6%, Genesys, which reported 6.4% year-over-year growth, and eked out 0.3% sequential growth (ET, August 16, 2004 ), and as I report elsewhere in today’s Electronic TeleSpan, ACT, which announced year-overyear growth of 17% and sequential growth of 3%.

For the second quarter, Freeconference.com reported just over 64 million minutes, or just over 1% of the global market as a whole. Toll-free 800 minutes, which generate $.10 a minute, made up just over 2% of Freeconference.com’s minutes for the quarter.

Call recording now available, playback over the phone

Freeconference.com announced that it has added a digital recording option for customers, allowing them to record their toll-free 800 calls for $10, and then distribute the recording as an MP3 file to an unlimited number of folks for free for up to 10 days, other than the cost of the POTS call. Customers can pay to have that 10-day limit extended. The calls in for the recorded call are password protected.

For the last financial story on Freeconference.com see ET, May 3, 2004 p. 1.

* The wonderful children’s book by Watty Piper, George Hauman, and Doris Hauman. The kids used to read it to me all the time!

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Reprinted from the August 30, 2004 issue of Elliot Gold’s Electronic TeleSpan, with permission.

TeleSpan is published as an electronic bulletin 40 times a year for $377 prepaid. TeleSpan will license the right to make copies upon request. For subscriptions, contact TeleSpan at +1-626/797-5482, or email us (info@telespan.com), or visit our website: http://www.telespan.com

 

News Article: Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2004

“Teleconferencing spurs more excited talk”

By Jon Van
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 8, 2004

The teleconferencing surge that took off after Sept. 11 as an alternative to business travel continues to grow.

At Andrew Corp., for example, spending for conference calls tripled over the last year as the Orland Park company grew through acquisitions. Costs per minute are falling even as Andrew executives pick up the phone more frequently.

“With this economy, we’re trying to reduce travel costs,” said Edgar Cabrera, Andrew’s manager of communications service. “Teleconferencing is an effective alternative.”

The communication equipment supplier’s employee base has doubled in the past two years, and Andrew now has 9,500 employees spread around the world. Teams from different locations teleconference frequently, Cabrera said.

While Andrew uses teleconferencing more than many, almost every enterprise does more teleconferencing today, making that activity one of the few bright spots in a telecom industry that has slogged through three years of unremitting financial gloom.

In 2003, when most telecom industry indicators pointed downward, teleconferencing was up 10 percent worldwide, said Marc Beattie, a senior partner with Wainhouse Research in Boston.

That has been especially good news for two local firms specializing in phone conferencing because they have grown at a faster clip than the industry in general.

Chicago-based InterCall, a unit of West Corp., and ConferencePlus, the Schaumburg-based unit of Westell Technologies Inc., have both seen market share increase as the teleconferencing pie has grown.

Smaller firms have prospered in part because the long-distance companies that traditionally dominated teleconferencing–AT&T Corp., MCI Inc., Sprint Communications Co. and Global Crossing–have been preoccupied with falling long-distance rates, regulatory problems and shrinking revenues.

“A lot of independent companies have taken advantage of the troubles at MCI and Global Crossing,” said Beattie.

“They ask managers, ‘Do you really want to risk a critical conference call with a company in trouble?’ Many customers split accounts to add ConferencePlus or InterCall as a second provider where before they just used a single provider.”

At ConferencePlus, fiscal 2004 revenues are up nearly 9 percent, to $45.4 million, and total conference minutes calling are up 22 percent, said Chief Executive Timothy Reedy.

“We’re profitable,” he said, “and a handful of other independents are profitable, but a lot of companies aren’t.”

Even though more business people use teleconferencing, per minute rates are falling, so companies must trim costs to stay profitable, Reedy said.

Most conference calls once used operator assistance, but today the majority are initiated by the callers. Such automated calls typically charge about a dime per minute while operator-assisted calls are billed at about a quarter a minute.

Reedy said about 85 percent of ConferencePlus calls are now the less expensive customer-initiated type but that operator-controlled calls are still significant. “We’re always going to have some operator-initiated calls,” he said. “Customers may not need that when people within a firm talk to each other, but they almost always want it for investor relations calls or when top executives are involved.”

At Andrew, about 80 percent of the conference calls are now employees talking to one another, Cabrera said.

The shift toward more customer control may sow seeds of future trouble for the industry, said Elliott Gold, president of TeleSpan Publishing Corp., which publishes a teleconferencing newsletter.

“What the industry has done is to take the customer down the road, showing him how to do everything himself,” said Gold. “This could come back to haunt them.”

The hot new phone technology, voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, integrates phone calls with computers and makes it easy for someone to use a computer to set up a conference without the help of a third party service.

“People in the industry talk about VoIP,” said Gold. “They’re really frightened by it, what it will absolutely do.”

Even without VoIP, the conferencing industry has cause for concern, Gold said, citing FreeConference.com, a California-based operation that enables anyone to use its Web site to set up conferences at no charge beyond the cost of making long-distance calls to its California phone number.

“We’re saying the emperor has no clothes,” said Warren Jason, president of Integrated Data Concepts, the company that operates FreeConference.com. “Conference calls are easy and they should be cheap. Companies spend thousands of dollars on conferencing when they don’t need to.”

Jason’s conferencing operation runs with just six employees. It makes most of its money selling premium service to large organizations such as General Electric Co. and the U.S. Postal Service. The free service recruits customers by word-of-mouth, so Jason doesn’t need a sales force.

IDC also makes hardware used to bridge calls together, so Jason has plenty of equipment and the ability to integrate it with his Web interface.

Executives at traditional conferencing services say they’re not worried about FreeConference.com or its business model. “The conference may be free, but participants pay for transport,” said Robert Wise, vice president of business development for Chicago-based InterCall. “Our conference calls use toll-free numbers, which most participants prefer.”

Wise said that InterCall’s staff of 300 salespeople is one reason that its business is expanding. Another reason is integration of the Internet with conference calls so participants can look at a PowerPoint presentation or other visuals as they talk with one another.

“Web conferencing has demonstrated that you can do presentations to small and huge numbers of people without leaving the office,” Wise said.

One soft spot in teleconferencing is video conferences. Both ConferencePlus and InterCall offer video conferencing and new technology makes it easier and cheaper.

But videoconferencing remains a tiny niche that shows no signs of growth, executives at both firms said.

“We do video, but it’s not significant,” said Kenneth Velten, senior vice president of marketing at ConferencePlus. “We did one the other day where a surgeon did knee surgery while others in training watched remotely.

“Cases like that or where a CEO wants to talk to all his employees are great for videoconferencing. But in most cases people just don’t see the value.”

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune

 

FreeConference News Article: Telespan, February 23, 2004

Freeconference.com reports 140% growth for January: Ends 2003 with 150 million minutes of “free” calls

And their run rate is now nearly 240 million minutes a year

So who is it that said conference call minutes were flat in the fourth quarter?

“Why Elliot, it was you, Oh Crystal Bald! It was after you reported the financials for Raindance and ConferencePlus. And you hint at this in your story on Premiere Conferencing in this edition.”

Hmm, I should have looked at who’s coming up behind before I went forward with that. Freeconference.com closed out 2003 delivering 149.9 million minutes to customers around the globe, with well over 99% of the minutes being “free.” The company’s toll-free, 10¢-a-minute operation, introduced last June, delivered just shy of a million minutes for the year, growing nearly threefold from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.

What makes this all the more interesting is that the company (which has only six employees), reported that minutes in the fourth quarter grew 9% sequentially (over the third quarter), while most others in the industry reported flat or negative growth in minutes for the same quarter.

And it didn’t end in December.

For January this year, Freeconference.com reported minutes were up 140% over January 2003, delivering 18.0 million minutes of “free” conferencing, compared to its delivery of 7.6 million minutes of “free” conferencing last January.

Hear’s what I think!

Folks, if they ain’t talking to your customers now, your customers are about to hear about them. I’ve seen Freeconference.com’s business plan and financials, and yes, it’s making money even though the calls are “free.”

For earlier stories on Freeconference.com see Electronic TeleSpan, July 22, 2002, pp. 7-10, March 31, 2003, pp. 2-3 , June 23, 2003 p. 1, and September 8, 2003 pp 9-10.

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Reprinted from the February 23, 2004 issue of Elliot Gold’s Electronic TeleSpan, with permission.

TeleSpan is published as an electronic bulletin 40 times a year for $377 prepaid. TeleSpan will license the right to make copies upon request. For subscriptions, contact TeleSpan at +1-626/797-5482, or email us (info@telespan.com), or visit our website: http://www.telespan.com