TellMe Extensions Is No More

By | April 3, 2003

Bad news for my free, public SoccerPhone service, which ran as a TellMe Extension. I received the following email from TellMe today:

VoiceXML Developer,
Tellme has made many investments in VoiceXML over the past four years.
One of these investments was in the Extensions program, with the goal
of making VoiceXML a more utilized public standard. Now with VoiceXML
well on its way to standardization in the W3C and with hundreds of
thousands of VoiceXML applications in production, it is clear that
investment has paid off. It is time for us to retire the Extensions
program and invest in other areas. As of Wednesday, April 9th we will
no longer host Extensions on 1-800-555-TELL or Developers can continue to build VoiceXML
applications on Tellme Studio.
Thank you for your individual contribution in making VoiceXML the most
widely-used and successful voice standard in the world.
The Tellme Development Team

Fortunately, it looks like TellMe will still support developer level access (i.e., you need the admin password) to a VoiceXML application, which should be sufficient for most deployments of PhoneBlogger. I’ll now have to look into BeVocal and HeyAnita, although a quick scan of their websites doesn’t suggest that they provide a service similar to TellMe Extensions.

Although I will miss it, this was one of the last remaining relics of the dotcom era. While Extensions got TellMe a decent amount of good PR, I imagine it cost them quite a bit of money to host it, especially when you consider the time that employees were putting into administering a free, hosted service as opposed to one of their services that generates revenue.

I just wish they would have kept it, but without a toll-free number. A lot of people with cellphones have nationwide long distance included in their plan, so TellMe was paying toll charges for nothing. Or, at least I think most people choose the long distance plans. If they don’t, they should. I very rarely make a long distance call from my house anymore.

Eric Snowdeal indicates on his ex machina that he has run into the same problem.

5 thoughts on “TellMe Extensions Is No More

  1. Dan Z.

    I just wanted to recommend Voxeo as a VXML provider. They offer free 1-800 access, their developer support is fantastic, and unlike TellMe Extensions, you have access to caller ID variables and call transfer functionality, among other features. I’ve developed on Voxeo for years, and I’m more than happy with them.

  2. Robert Stewart

    Thanks for the info on Voxeo. I was aware of them, but had not checked out their site. I set up an account today and will start porting my code this week. I took advantage of at least one TellMe extension to VoiceXML 2.0 (the tag) so I know I will definitely have some rewriting to do.

    The Voxeo site makes it look like they only support VoiceXML 2.0. When I added my app, it asked me to choose between their proprietary CallXML and Nuance VoiceXML 1.3. I hope that they really support VoiceXML 2.0 for the free developer accounts.

  3. Steve Sax


    VoiceXML 2.0 is indeed available and fully supported as a free platform. In addition to that and CallXML, Voxeo also supports CCXML – the new industry standard for call control markup.

  4. Robert

    Steve, I would love to check out Voxeo again, but unfortunately have been too busy to get back to working on my VoiceXML apps for quite some time. When I do get back to them, I’ll try again to port them to the Voxeo platform.

    Since the MLS season is starting up again, I’ll soon need to make sure SoccerPhone works with this year’s version of the MLS live scores page.

    Also, Jonathan Taylor had sent me an email saying that he was going to try to port my PhoneBlogger program to the Voxeo platform. Do you happen to know if he was successful?


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