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GlobalPhone Press Coverage


GlobalPhone Users Send Message to Government

By Jennifer Jones
July 30,1999

The average American's need to vent frustration at politicians will be key to Falls Church-based GlobalPhone's new strategy for its WebCallback service, which allows visitors to a particular Web site to trigger a phone call from staff at the other end.

Specifically, WebCallback has snagged a new role with E-The People, a nonpartisan Web service that lets the public directly con-tact 170,000 officials in all levels of government.

"If your car is swallowed up by a pothole the size of Poughkeepsie, E- The People can help you find the person you need to tell about it," promises the Web site at http://www.ethepeople.com.

Now that beleaguered motorist will be able to save herself or himself the phone charges associated with airing a grievance.

GlobalPhone's WebCallback icons will soon speckle E-The People's links to members of Congress. With a pull-down box built into WebCallback software, irate citizens can type in their phone numbers and even specify when they'd like to be called back. At the appointed time, a specified phone on Capitol Hill will ring and a recorded voice will instruct the person answering the phone that a constituent needs a call back.

GlobalPhone got its start in 1995 with an international call-back service that does not make use of the Internet. In-stead, it lets officials at U.S. embassies, the World Bank and other Global Phone customer sites use a phone number to notify a party on the other end that someone is awaiting their call. The service thus allows callers to avoid stiff fees that countries such as the Bahamas charge for long-distance calls.

The international call-back service rakes in about $4.5 million each year for GlobalPhone, while WebCallback proceeds are still nominal. Several travel agencies and some e-commerce vendors use Web-Callback, which is free to download. Customers are charged based on usage.

The company, however, is pushing WebCallback out front, said Guy Jazyn-ka, vice president of operations.

"Internet is sexy -- telephone is boring. Even though our other business is booming, we want to focus on WebCall-back and try to establish it as a unique product in the market," he said.

Jazynka said AT&T and some other carriers were offering services similar to WebCallback, but many dropped them because the services did not generate the returns expected. Jazynka attributed those low revenues to phone companies' efforts to charge big fees in installing the capability rather just trying to make money on use.

GlobalPhone is gearing up to pursue venture capital now that WebCallback is about to boost the company's visibility and its overhead.

"We got our start in a basement with minimal investment capital," Jazynka said. "We have always worked as a small company and have been able to sustain ourselves that way."