“32 Friends on the Phone: Taking Turns is Encouraged,” by Sarah Milstein

“Free” and “easy” are not words most people associate with conference calls. But FreeConference might change that.

After setting up a FreeConference account at www.freeconference.com, you can schedule a conference for up to 32 callers, and designate it as a conversation, so that all participants can speak, or a one-way broadcast, in which only one caller can speak. Participants can be notified by an e-mail message that gives them the dial-in number and access code. Calls can also be arranged on the spur of the moment. There are no time limits.

People anywhere in the world can take part, and they pay nothing other than the regular long-distance charge for calling the dial-in number.

Freeconference says it will not sell information it collects about its users. Integrated Data Concepts, which offers the service, makes money by generating telephone traffic over regular phone networks. The company provides equipment to phone companies and receives a percentage of the revenue from long-distance calls that come through its devices.

What if you want to allow callers to dial toll-free? Freeconference plans to make that service available within the next few months, for a fee.