Your Opportunity to Join an Exciting Tech Start-Up In Chicago

Talented Chicagoans have few opportunities to join high tech start-ups with explosive growth. This is your opportunity, so keep reading.

Ifbyphone is proud to have been chosen two years in a row by the Association of Business Resources (NABR) as one of "Chicago's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For." This year Ifbyphone was selected as one of three finalists for the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center Momentum Award which recognizes rising entrepreneurial companies. That was just the beginning.

The weekend of July 9th, we are moving to spectacular new offices at 300 W. Adams, Chicago, IL. Our full floor facility includes room for over 110 people, great places to work, ping pong, Xbox 360, mini golf facilities to provoke thoughtful contemplation, and dual 100 megabit fiber connections to our server farm hosted at multiple Equinex facilities.

We are looking to hire a senior software architect to join the Ifbyphone team. Our SaaS/Telco infrastructure consists of over 130 dedicated servers operating as an integrated environment and an expanding multiple region Amazon cloud. This infrastructure needs to grow three-to-five times in the next 12 months. Our code base is primarily LAMP with a significant MySQL cluster supporting hundreds of millions of rows of data and growing at tens of millions of rows a month. The Ifbyphone telephony applications are coded in both dynamically generated VXML/CCXML and Ruby utilizing the Adhearsion framework.

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eComm 2008, Ifbyphone Becomes a Silver Sponsor

While there are many telephone technology conferences each year, two stand out. VON and eComm. VON is where the business professionals in the voice and telephony industries go to make deals. eComm is where the technologists go to innovate.

Prior to this year Etel (the predecessors to eComm) was an O'Reilly sponsored conference designed to provide a forum for people working in the emerging telephony technologies to get together, learn and network. When O'Reilly decided to drop the Etel conference a ground swell of discussion in the telco world lead Lee S Dryburgh to put his day job on hold and facilitate eComm as a replacement. As stated on the eComm site:

"eComm is the venue for those interested in the radical transformation of the trillion dollar telecommunications industry. It has already started down the path that the homebrew computer took three decades ago. Just as democratized computation gave birth to the computer industry, eComm is tracking, highlighting and promoting the people and technologies driving this new wave of democratization.

eComm brings out the visionaries, emergent technologies, real-world startups, cutting-edge academic projects, views from the incumbent telecom players; garage based hacks and stirs required policy debates to create the ultimate three-day conversation.

The story of the decentralization of communications innovation has past the second chapter which was VoIP. It is now regarded as a building block only. As a standalone service it is both uninspiring and unlikely to be highly profitable."

The Ifbyphone phone mashup API is an ideal vehicle for developers looking to build creative web to phone applications. At my eComm 2008 talk I will describe the Ifbyphone architecture used to drive down the costs of sophisticated IVR applications while making them accessible to any web developer or small business.

Information about eComm 2008


Click-to-Call an argument for your CFO

Have you ever tried to squeeze a plumber into an online shopping cart? Unlikely. The fact is that most small to medium size businesses using the Web are not shopping carts. They sell services and products that just don't work that way--like landscape design, consulting, and acupuncture.

So when SMBs are asked what they want most from a Web site, they're more than likely to answer: more phone calls. This makes sense. In the non-shopping cart world, sales are made--or at least initiated--with a phone call. It's worth wondering, then, if small businesses are getting maximum value from their Web marketing dollars.

This was once a simpler question to answer. Once upon a time, all you needed for online presence was a website. That was easy enough. Then it had to be better than competitors' sites. So you built a better one. As websites became more sophisticated, the focus shifted to driving traffic, and then invariably to pushing only the right visitors your way.

And now, businesses are looking more carefully at how effective all of this is at converting their online spend to revenue. But what's missing here? Have we forgotten that even before the Web, any sale started with the phone ringing?

Ironically, relatively few SMB sites have metrics telling them whether, and how many, site hits turn into phone calls--let alone intelligence like which keywords deliver the most calls. But if Web spend is intended to generate leads that are converted offline, how can you effectively measure Internet marketing ROI without this information?

Consider this. A good website should perform like a good salesperson--and it's relatively easy to figure out if salespeople are bringing in more than they cost. And equally easy to see what kind of business is coming in. Shouldn't it be the same for a website?

The abundance of metrics provided by Internet marketing solutions report how many visitors came to your site, how long they spent, what pages they came from, and what search terms they used. But if you convert visitors to customers offline, these pieces of intelligence don't necessarily tell you if your website is a good salesperson, just breaking even, or underperforming.

Here's where Web telephony changes the rules. Capabilities like click-to-call marry age-old phone calls with Web marketing. Instead of simply listing a phone number on a site, click-to-call turns any image on any page into a phone call trigger call to action.

Because the phone call trigger is now a click, it can be measured like any other. When sites visitors click the call icon, that action is captured. Now you can see how many visitors called--and exactly which page they called from--in the same way you can see how many pages they looked at.

So is Web telephony the Holy Grail for improving your Web economics? Debatable, like anything else. Yet converting more visitors to callers does reduce per unit cost of leads and in turn, overall customer acquisition cost. And knowing which keywords drive the best phone calls will add intelligence to your keyword bidding, optimizing your spend--something worth consideration in the face of accelerating keyword inflation.

The bottom line: There's more to click-to-call than meets the eye. Yes, it generates more calls and builds a better experience for site visitors. But it's the role click-to-call plays in building a better Web ROI that makes it so valuable. Properly deployed, it's a game changer. Tell your CFO about it.


Voice Broadcasting as an Email Alternative

Voice Broadcasting used properly is an effective and reliable alternative to email. Ifbyphone's services are ideally suited for delivery of customer service information, customer notifications and employee communications. All information valuable to the recipient. For example, let's say you own a heating and air conditioning company. You used to send emails to your customers in the spring and fall to recommend they schedule a tune up of their air conditioner or furnace. The last couple of years your customers have complained "John, why don't you email me a reminder anymore?". But you do. What's happening. Your emails are going into your customer's spam folders. Spam technology has rendered email an ineffective customer communications tool.

Instead of using an email message use a Voice Broadcast. Record a short 30 second message to each of your customers. Schedule 20 of these messages to go out a day and offer the customer an option to transfer to your office and make an appointment during the call. Just as email used properly enhances your customer relationships and improves sales, Voice Broadcast used properly is a more reliable delivery vehicle then email, which all to often today ends up in someone's spam folder.