The sad state of Voicemail in 2007

by Daniel Raffel

too.many.messages.jpgGiven the changes in communication preferences it's interesting that the Voicemail services that I use at home/work aren't significantly different from the first microcassete based answering machines my parents had when I was growing up. Good design is good design, and I'm all for not messing with something that works, but I find that the prominent consumer based Voicemail services don't work for me.


Ted Gilchrist
2007-01-23 08:01:27
I've been playing around with voicemail. I've got a Google calendar mashup, that reads your calendar, but I've been playing around with the abilty to leave yourself voice notes, and mail or phone those voice notes to your contacts, and to schudule when the email/call gets deliveried.

It's all very preliminary, but it's fun.

2007-01-23 08:24:38
Can we check it out??
Alexandre Rafalovitch
2007-01-23 10:42:08
I use Lingo and it emails me my voicemails with timestamp and originating phone number. GrandCentral also allows for web access to the voicemails.

This of course is all web-based. My guess is that you wanted easier access _from the phone_. That I agree is still in the stone age.

Ted Gilchrist
2007-01-23 13:35:21
Well, since you ask, it's:

For the "voicemail" feature, you press "8" while listening to your calendar.

It's all in fairly constant flux. I haven't documented the bit about sending voicemail to your contacts, but your first step is to upload a .vcf file.

It has lately occurred to me that everybody should have one contact by default, initially, namely themself. I will schedule that for an upcoming evening hack session.

Henry Whicheloe
2007-01-24 03:01:03
A nice review on Voicemail , and in essence I agree totally, Voicemail has not evolved since the dawn of time, however as you mention there are a number of players hoping to change our voicemail experience, Spinvox now provides a host of services due to change our behaviour and usage of retreaving messages. Taking Voice to Screen is at the heart of the service, so thinking outside of standard voicemail, think about all the uses for delivering voice messages to a screen - Voicemail , Blogging, Mobile Blogging , Memo's - I am using a Blogging account on spinvox to capture the moment for daily blogs when I am not in fornt of my pc or laptop , its all about the "now" , whats the use of having a great experience if you cant share it at that moment.
2007-02-07 18:29:56
voicemail didn't evolve because it sucks. i never use or check my voicemail, even for work. i assume that if people don't know how to text message me, email me, or call me - they i simply don't want to talk to them or hear them. i usally leave a greeting to that affect.

i move too fast for voicemail. you have to wait to hear some crappy message (although sometimes you can press * to skip), the receiver's phone may or may not have a message-waiting indicator, if the receiver is using a cell phone and their phone is off then they will not get the message right away when their phone gets turned back on like they would from a text message, MWI's often occur but with a delay and sometimes the delay is an unacceptable length of time, sometimes voicemail still gets screwed up to where you can't hear the person (this is exacerbated by the fact that when you call someone and talk to them it is 2-way bi-directional conversation instead of one-way lecturing that you don't know if it is even received correctly), and worst of all it requires dialing (and time, which may be call time you pay for) into a number and putting in a password that is usually restricted to a password of only numbers and four in maximum length that can be spoofed via fake CLID/ANI anyways.

there just aren't enough hours in the day to deal with an inferior technology.

2007-02-12 21:22:28
I also use spinvox and couldnt be a more satisfied customer. I was really looking at acuracy and the different ways I could use the service when I chose spinvox. Spinvox excelled in this. Their spin-my-memo service is so convenient too. I tried it out on their website before I signed up at
2007-02-12 22:19:08
hey jim: was that a thumbs up or thumbs down on spinvox? :P seriousy tho, while i have no reason to suspect it, i really hope that's just a very happy customer and not a employee comment, we don't like when companies do that sorta thing. cheers!
2007-02-16 18:42:13
>> On a sidenote, I should mention in 2005 I built a most useless Karaoke Voicemail service

Not sure why yours was useless, Daniel, but try this one: You can send an audio greeting with music in the background to someone as a voicemail without ringing their phone. You can also create a voicemail greeting with music for your own phone. And if your singing voice doesn't cut it, you could always talk ;)

2007-04-25 04:15:56
Hi Sam! Photos i send on e-mail.
2007-05-25 10:58:43
you should really check out
it's a free cell voicemail service that replaces your own and lets you personalize each greeting for different callers.You can also check your voicemails ONLINE so no more $$$s to telco.
The best feature is DitchMail, yup, play a recorded message and then hang up on unwanted callers! there are pre-recorded greeings or record your own.
it works really well adn you can't really lose since it's free.
Jill Shaw
2007-07-19 23:01:31
Look, speech recognition is fine for personal use and playing around, but after trying Simulscribe for two months I had to switch back to Phonewire uses human transcribers, for not that much more money, which has always be more accurate than a machine attempting to isolate background noise and figure out missing words from cell phone break-ups and drop-outs.