Yesterday I received an email from Frederik a guy working for Jajah with whom I have had a couple of email exchanges in the past. Today, David another friend based in Luxembourg sent me the same information and I guess I have several comments about this bold initiative and about the marketing methods used by Jajah.
About the initiative: it's really bold because it actually positions Jajah very strongly vis-à-vis:
- traditional incumbents in the telco business: why would I use good old Belgacom, the national legacy operator of Belgium, when I can have free international telephony using Jajah?
- incumbents of the previous InfoTech wave in the telco business: one of the reasons I kept using Skype was because it gave me free Skype-to-Skype telephony + chat + SMS... In fact, here Jajah simply matches what Skype is offering, but IMHO it is not strong enough yet to displace Skype that I still consider as a great service (and therefore keep using along Jajah). As an aside, I would say that Skype could actually very easily offer exactly what Jajah is offering by using their conferencing system to establish phone-to-phone conversations pretty much like Jajah does, but only using their client application (which remains a big difference between the two solutions).
So looking at it from the perspective of the business model, of marketing strategy and of the commercial approach to seize a market, I am really amazed at what Jajah is doing. As a user / customer I am delighted, needless to say... and I do not necessarily care about the return to Jajah's shareholders, although I am indeed very sensitive to their plea that they are offering something and hope I will be using more of their services in exchange (I will, because I like what they do and I like the way their services work).
Now, about the marketing methods used: it's great buzz marketing and I remain absolutely amazed at the way Jajh is generating noise, getting in touch with people who speak about them, encourage users to share opinions... I know wome people out there feel quite angry with those methods that they consider as unfair and manipulative. And yes, they can be, but in my opinion, as long as there is no attempt to "buy" my opinion or to force my public position about Jajah, I don't see a problem. In fact, for me the topic of Jajah's market entry is interesting enough to be analyzed. Anyway, since they sent me the press release they issued, let me put it in this post because I know it may be an inspiration for a couple of my start-up customers out there... and that's actually also a good contribution from Jajah's people: showing how to do things when one wants to achieve proper market entry with a new offering ;-)