Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gaboogie

Gaboogie is a pretty cool idea. How often, in your professional life, do you find yourself trying to setup a conference call? Gaboogie aims to make that easier for you, in classic 37 Signals fashion. Gaboogie's service makes it easy to setup a conference call between a small number of participants, and then when the time comes for the conference, dials everyone on the list. It keeps dialing until it gets you, and if you miss the call, you simply call back the number that you missed. Add a dash of modern design, a few nice features like call recording, and presto - you've got gaboogie. Gaboogie has a simple, volume based pricing structure, going from around 12 cents a minute down to 2.

I know that I rail about horizontal services all the time, and frankly, I think that gaboogie will have the same issues as well. It will suffer from the twin challenges of customer education (most people won't know it exists) and customer habituation (people have to change their habits to use it). In my book, the saving grace is the Internet's long tail effect, which would be since the cost of incremental delivery is nearly zero, there may be enough scattered demand to make a decent business for them. I hope so, as I think this is a real problem that begs for a simple solution.

How does it stack up?
  • Technically, my first impressions are a B+. I love the simple design, and I caught wind from a job posting that they are using Freeswitch in their network. (Rock on with that one). The mapping of functionality is sparse, and I hope it stays that way, as it eases customer education. As a rapidly aging telecom geek, I have the suspicion that ease of use will be dashed upon the corporate IVRs that will inevitably be in the call flow. The fact they give you a dial in number will really help here, but I gotta think that it will be a jarring experience for those involved. No API yet, or I would be mashing it up with 30 boxes this morning.
  • From a business perspective, a solid B. Getting conference calls started on time is a real problem, and they have the basic right solution for it. In time, I'm sure it will be an excellent solution. I have a marketing issue though, as I believe that they have a consumer company name for what is essentially a business offering. (I'm not the only one with the opinion.) It won't be that difficult to reproduce the service today, but there's opportunities to create community and hard to replicate data with time - I hope they exploit that.
  • Buzz, another B. They have today's look and feel, a sense for the problem, and a decent approach to solving it. They certainly aren't leading the charge, but they are solidly in the pack.

4 comments:

Sid said...

Hey Thomas,
We tried out Gaboogie for our podcast. Their initial 'promises' were great, but we did have have a ton of problems along the way. Although, they did give us free credits so we didn't have to pay for the service -- so I'm not sure what I'm complaining about!

http://www.rev2.org/2007/06/19/the-rev2org-podcast-episode-1-facebook-roundtable/

Thanks,
Sid

Thomas Howe said...

I bet - but they are just out of the gate. They'll get it right, I'm sure, just a matter of time. The more important thing, in my opinion, is that they pick the right problem (they have) and have a good team (they do).

Hope all is well in NZ

xlags said...

Thomas, thanks very much for the write-up. I will be sure to give you a heads up on new features as they roll here.

We admit it has been tough on initial customers (Rev2 included) but we have done our best to do right by them, as sid mentioned. For what it's worth side the podcast (once into the call) sounded great.

We have fixed all of the majors that we can find so everyone should have a much better experience the next time you try the service.

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