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