Having been a big supporter of the Gizmo Project for the last couple of years, I was disappointed with their change of policy on call-out credit expiration, and even more so with their attitude towards the outcry on their forums. The change was that any new call-out credits bought now will be expired in six months. Other providers, including Skype, expire credits too, but they do it only on inactive accounts (normally defined by no use of the feature in the last six months). Gizmo Project’s bean counters have decided that tracking user activity is too much for them to handle, and instead have gone with a simple 6 months from purchase.
When I started using Gizmo Project, using $10 in six months would not have been too difficult. Now though, after I have encouraged most of the people I call most often to join, combined with their All Calls Free promotion, I haven’t even been using that much in a year. I need a few credits there for the occasional call to a PSTN number somewhere in the world, but not that much anymore.
So, I started looking for another VoIP provider that could connect my calls to PSTN numbers around the world, and wouldn’t expire credits based on a simple fixed calendar. As luck would have it, one of our early users at Devicescape recommended a VoIP provider called VoiceStick. They have a number of fixed rate plans for US and international calling, as well as one called NextToNothing, that just charges per minute of call out time. More interestingly, they provide a local call in number for free as well, allowing people to call me on a regular phone number and get my VoIP line. But most interesting to me is another service, i2Bridge, that allows me to call my VoIP number from my cell phone (or any other phone I nominate) and then lets me dial any other number and connects me using my VoIP minutes (something I’ve often wished I could do with my Gizmo account).
Over the next few months I’ll be transitioning to VoiceStick for my VoIP service. I’ll keep the Gizmo account running on my ATA, but only for Gizmo-Gizmo calls. And I’ll be getting as many as possible of those contacts I got using Gizmo to switch to VoiceStick too so we can take advantage of the free in network calling.