A couple months back I told you about Mr. PhoneTree, an iOS-only app that can automatically call every person in a group and play a recorded message--a huge time-saver for anyone who manages, say, a soccer team or social group.
Although the app came with 25 call credits to get you started, you had to purchase credit bundles after that. If you're looking for a cheaper solution and have minimal automated-call needs, check out DialMyCalls for Android and DialMyCalls for iOS.
The app is buggy and confusing in places, and much more limited than Mr. PhoneTree, but it does have one ace up its sleeve: it allows you one free phone blast per week (up to 30 seconds long and to as many as 25 people).
DialMyCalls comes from the Web-based service of the same name, but obviously it's far more convenient to set up and launch an automated call on your smartphone. The process is fairly straightforward--record your message, choose the recipients, then send the message--but the app suffers from numerous annoying quirks.
For starters, I couldn't create a new account on my iPhone; for some reason the app rejected my Gmail address as "invalid." Fortunately, I was able to set up an account on DialMyCalls.com, then sign into it on my phone. But the app requires your password every time you run it, with no option to remember it.
Next, after I created a recording, I tried setting up a "free call blast"--only to be informed that I had no available recordings to use. Turns out it takes the app a couple minutes to recognize new recordings, which are uploaded from your phone to the DialMyCalls servers.
Eventually the recording appeared. But when I got four contacts into creating my first call-group, the app crashed.
I was finally able to send a phone blast, which was delivered to recipients (and prefaced by a brief DialMyCalls promo--the price of free) within about two minutes. And my very own caller ID accompanied the call, a nice touch. Any calls not answered are left in voice mail.
After sending the blast, you can view a report that shows how many calls were answered live and how many went to voice mail. If you need longer messages and/or more recipients, credit blocks start at $10 for 140. (Each credit is good for one 30-second call; each additional 30 seconds consumes another credit.)
It may not be perfect, but DialMyCalls is still an effective way to phone-blast small groups on the cheap.