StanaPhone's missing 100

Net phone operator StanaPhone Communications no longer offers free phone calls between computers running its software, and any home, office, or mobile phone.

Net phone operator StanaPhone Communications no longer offers free phone calls between computers running its software, and any home, office or mobile phone. It used to offer 100 minutes, replenished automatically every 30 days.

StanaPhone was trying to recycle a strategy from the 1990s, when Yahoo, America Online and Microsoft's MSN introduced Net phone calling through their instant-messaging applications. At first, the scheme prompted millions of minutes of calls, but when IM makers started charging for PC-to-phone service a few months later, traffic plunged.

When it started the offer if June, a StanaPhone representative acknowledged the roll of the dice. The bet was that StanaPhone users would ultimately buy premium services.

The lesson here may be moderation. Maybe VoIPJet is doing it right by offering the equivalent of a Net phone snack--when calling any phone number, the first 25 cents worth of billable minutes is free.

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