Do we still need Phone Numbers?

In this day of email, Facebook and Skype, you may wonder if there is any meaning or value to a phone number.
After all it is just one of many methods (and not the most convenient of them) to contact someone

With IP communications could be my phone number in addition to may email address. Voice communications are just another
way of sending bits and bytes from one person to another. The popular SIP protocol supports multiple types of media so in fact if you dial from a SIP phone you could reach me.

That being said why are people still willing to pay large sums for 212 area code numbers (hard to get numbers in Manhattan)??
In fact at The Flat Planet Phone Company, we actually make a nice profit out of selling local phone numbers from over 50 countries to our call center customers. Our research has shown that companies who have local numbers and use our Dynamic CallerID for calls to other countries see the number of calls answered go up by 30% in some cases. Some of our Forex customers have over 30 numbers each in a different country to make it easy for traders to bet on the latest currency moves!

It seems that some habits are hard to kick. People feel comfortable with phone numbers that they know and recognize. We still “dial” a phone call, even if we are clicking on
our computer screen to make a call. My friend the blogger, Andy Abramson pushes people to say “call” and not “phone call” since many calls are not made on phones anymore. But it is not easy for people to change.

Who knows, maybe our grandchildren won’t make “phone calls” to “phone numbers” but in the meanwhile even in this digital age they are still here to stay!

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Flat Planet Website will return soon!

Dear All!
We expect our web site to be back up (after being hacked) in a few days.
Meanwhile you are invited to enjoy my blog!
All the best!

Moshe Maeir

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How Call Centers can close 30% more sales!

Call centers invest big budgets in fine tuning their monitoring, reporting, scripts and techniques in order to close more sales.

Many times they over look small improvements that can make a big difference! For example our Dynamic CallerID service.

What is Dynamic CallerID? Say you sell to France, Germany and Italy, but your call center is in India. When you call customers in those countries they see your India CallerID. The result – many potential customers will not pick up a call when they see a foreign number that they do not recognize! The solution? Dynamic CallerID! Our system will analyse the call as you make it and insert the local CallerID for the country you are calling. Some of our customers have found that over 30% more calls are answered when using Dynamic CallerID!

We can supply you with phone numbers in over 50 countries. Even if you do not do international calls, we can also provide you with local numbers in the USA, UK and many other countries, so you can setup virtual local offices. I can assure that if your call center is in Omaha, NE the chances that a customer in Dallas TX will answer the phone will be much higher if you have a 214 number with Dynamic CallerID. Contact us today for more details at 212-796-0900

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The Ultimate Data Center?

Since we plan to close our Israeli POP next week, it is a good time to describe the unusual location that is hosting our servers. Med-1 in Petach Tikva, Israel.

What is unusual about Med-1? Well to start with it is completely underground! To access the building you need to enter an underground parking lot and then take an elevator downstairs.

According to the company website the underground structure is enclosed in double layered reinforced concrete walls to protect all systems from a direct hit by a bomb (we are in the Middle East after all…). It is no wonder that Med-1 hosts the Israeli Internet Xchange router, all of Israel’s telecom players and foreign giants like AT&T, BT and others.

So why are we leaving such a prestigious facility? For purely commercial reasons. Due to the weak regulatory regime in Israel (I can rant about that all day..) it is almost impossible for small players to enter the market and succeed. We prefer to concentrate on other markets in Europe and the USA which we have found to be much more profitable.

So Goodbye Med-1!

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Will President Obama call us again??

As he heads in the mid-term elections, President Obama is going all out, to replicate his success 2 years ago.

Mr. President, I am sure you remember your election day visit to the Flat Planet powered phone bank in Indiana.

My suggestion to the President is if you want to repeat your success use us again! Call The Flat Planet Phone Company. You can reach me at 212-796-0900 ext 100

Best Regards
Moshe Maeir

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Flat Planet Group buys Omega Telecom

We are really excited to let you know that that we have closed an agreement to buy Omega Telecom a licensed telecom carrier based in Cyprus.

In the past few years we acquired a number of call centers based in Cyprus as customers and became familiar with the local telecom market. These call centers enjoy our unique services such as Local Phone Numbers in 50 countries with Dynamic Caller ID. With Dynamic Caller ID, call centers see a tremendous rise in calls answered and sales closed!

While there are 6-7 other active licensed carriers in Cyprus, there is plenty of room for innovative services such as those offered by our company. So when the CEO of Omega told us that he is interested in selling the company, it did not take us long to make an offer.

Why are we excited? Well for a number of reasons. Cyprus has become a major financial center due to it’s central location, membership in the EU and low tax rate. Many of these companies can profit from our IP services.

In addition we will now have our own range of geographic, premium (900), national (77) and toll free (800) numbers. In many cases we can offer a substantial payback for use of our numbers, which makes it even more profitable.

In the next few weeks we will finalize our plan and hire a local sales team. We are looking forward to becoming a major force in the Cyprus telecom market. Please contact me for more information. I will be happy to discuss with you more details!

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One Line – Multiple Caller ID!

Remember the days ten, twenty years ago when you thought twice about calling your mother back home? Long Distance calls were expensive, regulated to weekends when rates were discounted.

With the 21st century came the VoIP revolution and now you could call all over the USA and even worldwide for that matter, for a few cents a minute. VoIP brought with it another benefit, even more exciting that cheap calls – Local Phone Numbers.

Instead of calling Mom, you could just give her a phone number in her home town which would ring on your phone 2500 miles away. The cost was only a few dollars a month.
Pretty quick businesses saw the opportunity and picked up numbers to give them a “local presence”. Nowadays when a call on your phone shows a NY number, you don’t if it is from NY, Chicago or maybe India….

The Vonages marketed this function heavily and many subscribers have more than one local number assigned to their line. But here is the catch – if you have more than one number what do you show on the outgoing caller id when you make a call?? After all if a NY customer calls you on your NY number, it is not very effective to return his call with a Miami number, is it?

Of course you could get multiple VoiP lines and assign different local numbers to them, or even more painful – use your providers web interface and set the outgoing caller ID each time you make a call. Not too efficient, I would say.

The past few months we have been testing the Dynamic Caller ID solution with our customers. One line (SIP account/trunk in techie language) and Multiple Caller IDs. The cool part is that the system displays the local caller ID based on the destination that you call. So for example if you call LA, the recipient of the call would see your LA number on his phone. Call London and it displays your London local number!

With Dynamic Caller ID, you need only one phone account and you can have local presence in over 50 countries! The Flat Planet Phone Company will be displaying this wonderful service next week at ITEXPO in Miami. We will be at Booth 333. Seeya there!

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Make Money While You Sleep!

I hate blowing my own horn, but three years after founding The Flat Planet Phone Company one of the best things I like about our business is that the money comes in whether you are awake or asleep. Beep beep goes my blackberry each time money is deposited by one of our prepaid customers. The BB beeps day and night (though I try to turn it off at night…)

I believe that selling Hosted VoIP services is one of the greatest business opportunities on the market. Why? Your customers are happy, since you provide them with a feature packed service for less than they paid for their legacy phone service. You are happy since you make one sale and get steady recurring income month after month!

So I wasn’t surprised to see the report from business analyst IBIS WORLD that VoIP is the best performing industry of the DECADE! VoIP has grown an astronomical 179035.8% since 2002!

The industry that was hot a century ago (textile and clothing) is now the worst performing, and is not expected to shine in the coming decade. VoIP providers are on the other hand predicted to lead all industries in growth over the coming decade as they did this decade.

Makes you wonder what are you waiting for? Contact the Flat Planet Phone Company – TODAY!

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Hmm… I am not the only who thinks that Hosted VoIP is about to Explode!

For the last few months, ever since ITEXPO, I have been convinced that we are about to explode. Our resellers tell me that they rarely get a NO from SMB leads. It is just a good proposition, all over.

Last week Forbes came out with an article by Gene Marks. “The Value of VoIP

Peter Radizeski put up a great post on his TMC blog. Unlike the Forbes article which was a little superficial, Rad really details why Hosted VoIP is exploding. Some of the points he brought up are —

I have to think that in the economic reality we are facing, the distributed workforce, the tele-worker, and the mobility of employees, more and more lines will move to VoIP. For cost savings as well as productivity reasons

There are so many reasons for small and medium businesses (and self-employed persons) to migrate to VoIP that I don’t see it being stagnant for long.

The point I liked best and the one that I always stress to our resellers is

Many of the people selling VoIP pitch the cost savings. Wrong! There will be changes, so it needs to start with a conversation about how the business operates and uses the current phone system. It takes longer but it is the best approach. Looking at the bill and shaving points off it hasn’t been highly successful for CLEC’s, who have spent billions to make millions.

Rad is right that is what Hosted PBX is all about. More Features, No Equipment, One Virtual PBX for all offices and cost savings. What more could you want? If for some reason you are not yet reselling Hosted PBX service to the SMB market, don’t wait contact us today

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More on “Why Do We Blog Less?”

Last week I blogged on Where have all the bloggers gone?

After posting the note on Facebook my words seemed to have hit on a subject that is on many of my friends minds. The comments were enlightening! Here are some of the comments –
Also on a closely related note – Jeff Pulver posted today, how he is coping with the changing world of online social interaction!

Gal Mor: I like the concept of slow blogging - Tweet fast, blog slow

Luca: I noticed this, too.
In my case, I’m writing regularly and taking care of my blog (just moved to a better hosting, premium theme and so on) but covering VoIP less. My interestes are much more than VoIP only, so I like writing about different subjects.
Can’t give you an answer for the other bloggers, but I think Andy is the only one who keeps focusing on mainly VoIP/Telecom subjects.

Garret Smith: Personally I got into blogging about VoIP to write about “unique” aspects or take an angle that others don’t, but with 50+ others, that gets hard.
Now that it’s dying down, I’m getting back to 3 – 5 posts at in addition to the 5+ at

Sean O Sullivan:Yep. Short answer: I am still doing blog posts – only when I have something that I think merits a proper “post” – something with at least a few paragraphs, perhaps a beginning a middle and an end, or an interview with someone else.
For lots of other stuff which might have gone to the blog in the past (short “hey – look at this!” stuff) – I use … Read Moretwitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook.

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