We wrote about Jaxtr in December when it launched its private beta. Like many of the consumer facing VOIP startups that popped up last year, they are helping people make calls from one normal phone to another, with their service in between.
Now, normal phones are perfectly capable of calling normal phones already. What Jaxtr and others do is allow the call to be initiated from a website. Also, both parties are called from Jaxtr, so there are no call tolls. And phone numbers are not communicated to either party.
Jaxtr users place a widget on their website (ours is above). Others can then call the user by entering their own phone number. The caller’s phone rings, and then the other party’s phone rings. Then you have a phone conversation. Jaxtr also allows people to send the publisher a text message or just send them a voicemail directly (text messages and voicemails are administered on the Jaxtr site, not on your phone). Jaxtr never discloses the call recipient’s phone number so you can install a widget without ever exposing personal information. Users can also block callers or specify on a per-caller basis which callers can reach them live and which get routed to voice mail.
Jaxtr is a free service but has some limitations. Currently, users can receive 100 minutes of calls per month. After the limit is reached, calls are routed to the voicemail service instead.
After a first call is successfully initiated, Jaxtr provides the caller with a unique, permanent number, which they can use to call the same person in the future. Local toll rates apply, of course.
This isn’t a useful way for larger sites to communicate with users (I place the widget above with some trepidation), but it is a fantastic way for MySpace users with a small group of friends to stay in touch, and have phone conversations without giving out any personal information. It’s also a brilliant way for small businesses with a website to let their customers contact them.
Go crazy with the widget above.