Wengo Video Chat for Bloggers

Wengo, a subsidiary of 9 Telecom, France’s second largest telecom, has a well designed chat widget for bloggers. It’s called Wengo Visio and is like MeeboMe but with video chat. Visio runs in Flash through a bit of embedded JavaScript and CSS, with SIP as the communications protocol. Check here for some bloggers that have it implemented.

When you have your widget installed, you can make yourself available to chat by logging in through an admin menu. While online, readers can solicit you for chatting by typing a little message in text box that shows up on the owners side. The owner can then initiate the chat if they choose. Chatting is currently one-to-one via mic and optional web cam, which makes it less overwhelming than the flood of texting that can happen with MeeboMe. Although, the group video chat of PalTalk and ability for readers to listen in could make for an ad hoc “Gillmor Gang” style meeting of the minds right on your blog.

But Wengo Visio isn’t intended to be a standalone program, rather it is an effort to expose Wengo’s other products, Wengo Talents community and Wego Phone to a wider audience. Wengo Phone is their own chat client that lets you text chat, call other VOIM users, call landlines, call cell phones, set up audio conferences, and make video calls. It also runs on Win, Mac, and Linux, with Google Talk, Yahoo, ICQ, and GAIM compatability. Similar to Skype-out, they only charge for calls to landlines and cell phones, but have a free trial with € 0.50 of credits until January 4th. So far, over 72 million minutes have been shared over Wengo.

Stepping back a step further, both Wengo Visio and Wengo Phone are part of their long term plan of building a pay-per-call expert network, Wengo, where people can sell their time on the phone via PayPal or credit card. This may sound a lot like Ether, sans the 1-800 number, and it is very similar. Wengo, however, has opted to build their offering around their own Wengo community site, where users have categorized themselves, received ratings, and posted profiles. Ether has opted for a different strategy by relying on users to promote services on their own.