Speech Helps Virtual Bar-Goers Meet the Girl of Their Dreams
Fubar has helped more than 1 million people meet friends or flirt while they wear sweatpants. Now, Jangl is using speech technologies to help them get to the next level: grabbing a new friend's or love interest's phone number or leave them a voicemail. Yesterday, social networking site Fubar.com announced that its users could opt for exchanging phone numbers and leaving voicemails for one another.
Jangl, a company that helps social networking sites extend to user's mobile phones and has delivered more than 40 million voicemails, provided the technology. By clicking on the Jangl "Call Me" link in a Fubar member's profile, an anonymous phone number appears, granting users the ability to talk with or leave MP3 voicemails for other members in the Fubar community. Jangl and Fubar have, however, given users control who can access their Jangl account information, and how incoming calls will be handled, such as a "Do Not Disturb" setting, or call blocking.
"Online consumers want to be able to communicate with their online friends, and want to be able to use their mobile phone to do that, but they don't want to share their personal information," says Jangl cofounder at CTO Ben Dean. "Jangl solves this problem, keeping both sides of all calls private, for both placing and receiving calls, leaving voice messages, and soon SMS, as well."
The launch with Fubar represents another implementation of Jangl software for a social networking site. With clients like Facebook and Match.com, Jangl claims 20 million people use its services to connect via phone through social networking Web sites. And, with Fubar's 1.2 million users, that number further increases. The Fubar implementation also remains markedly different than Jangl's previous implementations. In addition to providing the social networking standard, profile-based page, Fubar also acts as an interactive, online happy hour. Members can
convene at a virtual bar, buy rounds of drinks, converse together, or just listen in. Or, as the site proclaims, Fubar is "the Facebook for grown-ups."
Though Fubar has yet to achieve the 100 million-plus membership mark of sites like Myspace, Jangl claims that its services are often seen as a strong way for sites to grow. In addition, Deans says the company's services represent the needs of today's online community member.
"We have had the prevailing customer engagement strategy from the beginning - namely, as a business practice, to prioritize distribution in order to grow the overall market for services, and as product development practice prioritize building unique, contextually-relevant services for each new online environment," he says.