Got a Transaction? Get a Numbr!
Amazing how small a world this is. A Product Manager I work with at Nokia is good friends with the brains behind Numbr (pronounced Num-bar) formerly known as craigsnumber. He new my interest in the space and decided to hook me up for a chat this afternoon.
The key difference between numbr, Jangl and many of the others is quite simple: The others are designed around relationships, numbr is designed around a specific transaction. The impetus behind Numbr was basically that–selling an item on craigslist, of course. Once the item was sold, he kept receiving calls over and over and over again about the sold item. He wondered: do other people have this problem? And a service was born.
The concept behind Numbr is simple: sign up for a temporary telephone number and calls will be forwarded to your real number. There are two ways to do it: via their website, or by simply calling 415-234-5678 (US only, I believe). Online, you can choose a numbr from one of about 23 cities. When you dial in, you are assigned a random numbr. Either way, you are assigned a telephone numbr and an extension. The numbr is good for a specific period of time–an hour, a day, a week, or a month. Calls are forwarded to your specified telephone number. When the numbr expires, either because the time is up, or because you manually expire it, you will stop getting calls.
If you want to see what the end user experience is with Numbr, feel free to call me on the Numbr listed below. You can see that the numbr will eventally expire. The flash applet tells you exactly how long before it does.
Get your own free auto-expiring numbrWhat I like about numbr is that it is dirt simple. Of all of the services in this space, it has the lowest barrier to entry. The only thing numbr needs from you is a phone number. If you want reports on inbound calls or voicemail, then they need your email address too. Nothing else. Your callers need provide no data whatsoever to numbr, they just call.
If you want to extend your numbr, cancel it, or change the various options related to your numbr, all you need to provide are the telephone number and extension you were assigned along with the number the call is going to. No passwords are generated or stored. It’s fairly secure, since it’s unlikely nobody knows your real number, and again, it’s dirt simple.
The service right now is free, and as I understand it, they are breaking even in terms of what it costs to run the service. They are looking at additional services they could charge for, but “making money” wasn’t the original concern. Coming up with something useful that fills a need was the major goal. This is precisely what they’ve done. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.