SpinVox goes free in the UK

by Dan Lane on 19th August 2009

spinvox_logo1SpinVox have removed all charges for UK users of their Voicemail to E-Mail transcription service. Previously the service was charged at £5 per month.

The blog TweetOsphere posted an e-mail sent last week from a SpinVox customer service rep saying “I am happy to advise that all our UK accounts are now complimentary”, the representative then goes on to confirm that “All UK accounts are now free until further notice”.

The SpinVox website was updated earlier today to confirm that SpinVox Voicemail to E-mail is free for all new and existing UK users until the end of 2009, with the exception of customers using PAYG mobiles who are unable to divert calls.

It’s worth noting that this promotion is for Voicemail to E-Mail transcription and not for the traditional Voicemail to SMS service that SpinVox usually offers. According to SpinVox; “if you are an existing paying voicemail to SMS customer – we will continue to deliver the service but will not charge you“, however, “If you are a new customer – we are making voicemail to email free of charge.  Voicemail to SMS is not available in this promotion either as a charged or a free service“.

Update (19/08/2009 17:15 BST): After reports that some existing customers have been billed today, SpinVox contacted us to say that existing customers are being migrated over to the free service and that this may take a few days.

This is an interesting move for SpinVox at a time when rumours are flooding in regarding their financial issues and the legitimacy of their technical platform. If, as has been alleged, they lack the technical ability to automatically transcribe messages then this opens them up to huge costs as UK users flood to take up their offer of free service, that is unless they’ve been put off by all the negative press SpinVox have been receiving recently.

SpinVox have certainly pulled their act together in recent weeks and seem to be following a strict company message with lots of mentions of human QC agents including a line telling potential users that they “may wish to record a personal greeting and remind your callers that their voicemail to you may be aided in the conversion process by those QC agents”.

As you may have read in the coverage of our recent SpinVox visit we noticed that the build date for SpinVox’s Tenzing software was mere days before our demonstration and we were told that British English was one of their weakest languages due to the lack of english-speaking operator partners and therefore sample material with which to build a lexicon from (there is an argument that this is poppycock as most research into voice to text takes place in English speaking countries). It makes sense then to give away accounts in territories where their technology currently struggles.

Either way, this new free service offers tremendous value for UK users as long as they understand the rumours surrounding SpinVox’s practices. Those of you wanting to take part in the offer can do so here

Disclosure: James Whatley is a co-founder of The Really Mobile Project and also serves as SpinVox’s Head of Social Media. He had no part in the writing of this article and is currently on a sabbatical from The Really Mobile Project while he takes part in the Lucozade Energy Challenge and while the SpinVox controversy is ongoing.

Dan Lane is the author of this article and has had a complementary SpinVox account for some time now, he also has a complementary account from Vox Sciences who offer a similar service to that of SpinVox.

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