Friday, June 29, 2007

IMail. YouMail. He, She, or ItMails

Well, just when you thought you'd gotten all your tech "to do's" under control - you've got every number you ever call in your cell phone directory; your iPod is completely full; your calendars are all in synch; you've mastered Tivo - something new appears on the horizon.

Introducing (at least to me) something called YouMail, which lets you create personalized voicemail messages tied to the caller's number.  Here's what YouMail has to say for themselves:

Make your voicemail greeting more personal, with special greetings for the people you care about the most.

  • Easy to do, just enter their phone number and record the greeting - on the phone or on the computer.
  • We even provide pre-recorded greetings for a variety of situations, so you can get started now. Choose from fun greetings, professional greetings - even greetings with your name.

And how's that for a personal touch: "pre-recorded greetings for a variety of situations." (I listened to a few of them, and they can be funny - if overlong. But WHO NEEDS SOMEONE ELSE WRITING/RECORDING THEIR VOICEMAIL GREETING FOR THEM? My 82 year old aunt has her own greeting. And, yes, we all know people who leave the standard "factory-made" greetings on there forever. I'm, in fact, related to a couple of them and that, "Hello, please leave a message" robot voice drives me nuts.)

The service is - what else? - free, and YouMail plans to make money with - what else? - online ads. If you use YouMail, you manage/host your voicemail there, so you'll be on their site regularly. At least that's how I think it works (From my read of a Boston Globe article on the subject by Irene Sege.)

The article does mention one extremely useful feature:

For those persistent former boyfriends or telemarketers you'd rather not hear from, YouMail offers DitchMail, which blocks unwanted callers from being able to leave a message.

My favorite part of Sege's article covered the YouMail usage of a fellow who uses the service to record specific message-messages - not just greetings - for people.

"I can tell them what I want to tell them without having to talk to them."

Couldn't he simply leave that message on their voice mail when he placed the original call? "I don't know why I didn't think of that."

A perfect example of make-work technology in action.

Sure, it might be kind of fun to have nice little personalized greetings for your kids, but it seems that the kids who'd most like to hear Mommy's or Daddy's special message just for them are likely to be too young to have cell phones.

But, of course, we're all so narcissistic, people will probably be clamoring for personalized greetings and will be ticked off at you if you keep with the one-size-fits-all approach.

Years ago, in the early days of the Internet, seeing a button that read www.uselesswasteoftime.

As a blogger, I'll be the first to admit that the Internet is not - and never has been - a useless waste of time. But it sure has spawned plenty of them. And, in my phone book, YouMail is one of them.

1 comment:

Ed said...

I have to say that while youmail might not be the most indispensible cellular add-on ever having been a user for two months now I can safely say that it is very easy to use when you need it. Definitely easy enough to not classify it as "make-work" technology. In fact I've had a few clients comment on the personalized greetings I've set up for them. In the end, you're right, it's not absolutely necessary. However, one could argue that cell phones themselves did nothing more than expand the realm of things your newly estranged ex could hurl at you.