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The W-Group: PR Noobs

I got a pitch-mail today from Thomas W. Scriven for a new free VoIP calling service (another 712 plan) from the W-Group.  Y’all know I like free services, and I’ve spent a bunch of time figuring out the 712 model, so this one oughta be a lay-up, right? 

Except the clueless Mr. Scriven didn’t even take the time to figure out my name, addressing the mail to “Hey Alecs”.  I love the “confidential” notice at the end as well.  So which is it Tommy boy?  Confidential?  Or something you want me to write about?

Somehow I don’t think FuturePhone is going to feel too much competition from these guys. 

From: Thomas Scriven
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 9:47 PM
To: alecs@exmsft.com
Subject: Hey Alecs

Hey Alecs,

I think this could be super useful for your readers:

Free International Calls to Mexico, China, Korea, Canada, The UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires Argentina, Singapore etc.. from your cell phone. No Catch.

Most have a heavy reliance of phone services of all kinds. A strong connection to family, friends and business connections back home lead many to pick up the phone and reach out often on a daily basis. But making phone calls has the propensity to be expensive, and the costs could be getting higher, making services such as The W-Group, Inc. (http://www.freecallstomexico.com  http://www.freecallstochina.com  http://www.freecallstotheuk.com  http://www.freecallstocanada.com ) a welcome relief for many.

Millions of International callers may see tax hikes imposed on traditional landline phone services under a new bill being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman. Currently, elder Americans and those who live where phone service costs would be astronomical have phone service costs subsidized by funding by the Universal Services Fund (USF). The Fund provides financial assistance to programs like phone service, schools and other need-related services across the country. The fee now imposed on the caller for the phone service is based on usage – the more calls made the more you pay. But a universal fare hike has been proposed that may occur regardless of how many calls are made. Three to five million Hispanic and Latino households in the United States could be included among the 43 million Americans would pay more in federal phone fees under the plan. Some may not be able to afford it.

There are other options in phone service, but they may also take a chunk out of an individual’s monthly budget, primarily if several calls are made internationally. While many mobile phone companies do offer free long-distance service at key times during the day, these long-distance minutes may not apply to the areas many international callers call outside of the United States and Puerto Rico, resulting in large charges. And e-mail or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) may not be the answer either. While e-mail is a relatively inexpensive venture, many family members in home countries may have infrequent access to the Internet or none at all.

There is an economical solution for those who make frequent international calls. The W-Group, Inc, a new Los Angeles-based telecommunications company has devised a way to offer free calls from the U.S. to Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterey, China, Seoul Korea, The UK, Germany, Canada, Buenos Aires Argentina, Hong Kong, etc. Here’s how the system works. Those looking to place an international call simply dial 712-338-8849 (a number based in Iowa) from any phone, anywhere in the U.S. The caller will hear a voice first in Chinese, then in Spanish, then in English, telling them to enter their destination number. Caller enters the number they wish to call and they are instantly connected. The W-Group does not charge anything for call or the call connection. There is no sign up or commitments of any kind, and the caller can stay connected for as long and as often as they would like.

Through creative routing similar to the system used by the popular service, E-Fax, The W-Group routes the calls through Iowa, then re-routes the call to the destination internationally. The caller does not pay the international charge, only the normal long-distance charge, if any, to Iowa that is on their current phone plan (now-a-days, most phone plans include free long distance, so this call will be free in most cases). The W-Group actually makes its money off of the phone carrier, not the caller. The company already has the same system working for calls to China, the UK, Argentina, and other regions of the world.

For more information, visit http://www.freecallstomexico.com http://www.freecallstochina.com  http://www.freecallstotheuk.com  http://www.freecallstocanada.com .
As many as 25 new countries are opening up in 2007.
Thomas Scriven
The W-Group
1119 Colorado Ave, Suite 103
Santa Monica, CA 90401
 
This message and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for the addressee. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately. Any unauthorized use, alteration or dissemination is prohibited.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Ken Camp December 27, 2006, 5:29 pm

    I got the same email pitch. Looked it over and tagged it as spam crap and tossed them into the filter. I debated posting something, but didn't figure they deserved any attention at all with that shabby approach. Actually, I was just keeping their confidence…

    😉

  • Loopy December 27, 2006, 10:26 pm

    Alec,

    I take my hat off to the guys. They have cornered an influential name in the industry, they have been creative [probably been using Seth Godin tactics] and they have gotten a piece written about them [regardless of the value of the product/service].

    Sweet :0)

  • Moshe Maeir December 27, 2006, 11:06 pm

    Alec,
    As the old saying goes – it doesn't matter what you write about me as long as you spell my name right…

    I know for a fact that Futurephone and others are quite successful in emigrant communities such as NY. However
    they have limited scalability and therefore are not a major threat to the Big Guys. I wonder when Congress will catch on to this scam. Sure it is legal, but in my mind it is still a scam.

    If it is true that Efax also routes thru Iowa – they ain't doing bad as they charge $16.95 for a DID and get away with it!

  • Eric December 27, 2006, 10:55 pm

    I tried their number — 712-338-8849. It actually worked quite well, and the call was a lot clearer than using Futurephone. I also got through on the first try, and on every try, unlike Futurephone and all too familiar message of “Please try again later.”

    Also, Alec — blogging has made you one SOUR GUY! haha..he just mispelled your name with an S, obv by accident!

    What happened to the luuuuuuuuv

  • Alec December 28, 2006, 10:28 am

    Eric — alecs is my email ID. It wasn’t a mispelling. It was a mail merge with a list he bought some where. This guy spammed me. That’s what happened to the luuuuuuv :)

    Loopy — I find the 712 area code models fascinating. Any PR might be good PR, but he could have had BETTER by not irritating me. C’est la vie.

  • Alec December 28, 2006, 10:29 am

    Moshe — I am not sure I agree it’s a scam. I’ve spoken with a few folks in the know, and certainly these models have been very good for the iowa communications industry.

  • Moshe Maeir December 28, 2006, 4:56 pm

    Alec,
    I call it a scam, you can call it a loophole if you prefer. The fact is that Congress mandated the Universal Service Fund as a way to bring equal service to rural areas, not so some slick operator can make a quick buck. Sure the people in Iowa also benefit, but that doesn’t make it right, unless you believe in a Robin Hood regime.

    The bottom line is that US taxpayer money is being used to subsidize international calls – even though it is not in the US Government budget that was approved by Congress….

  • color brochure printing May 21, 2007, 12:02 pm

    Scam! Scam! Scam! It’s a “long con”. Stay away I was burned.

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