I just read about a new site called Utterz that goes far beyond what I did with PhoneBlogger a little over four years ago. A couple of other voice blogging by phone sites have cropped up in the intervening years, but their feature sets were generally the same or only slightly better than what I had built into PhoneBlogger. Their main advantage was hosting the service for you, albeit at a cost to you. I wasn’t surprised when I read about most of them closing up shop.
At Utterz, however, voice blogging by phone is just one of the services they offer. They even offer dial-in numbers outside the US. And even better, it’s free.
One thing I’m concerned about from reading the FAQ is that it looks like they just use caller ID to determine who you are when you call in. Caller ID is easy to spoof, so it would be simple for me to post a voice recording to someone else’s Utter page. If they had configured connections to their blog, my post would even show up there.
Another downside is that it appears that the voice app is just a DTMF app. That really limits what they can do. For example, one of the features I keep planning to add to PhoneBlogger is to let you tag or categorize the voice post. With a speech app that would be very easy to do. Some of the blogging APIs let you retrieve a list of all the existing categories. It’s trivial to those into a grammar and prompt the caller to say one of them. Good luck specifying a category with a DTMF app (press 1 for LOLcats, press 2 for flying spaghetti monster, …, press 19 for fishsticks are go, …). Actually, you could do better by having the caller enter the first two digits from the phone keypad that map to the first two letters of the desired category. Unless the caller has a lot of popular categories starting with the same letter, the app would then have to present at worst a short disambiguation list. Still, a speech app would be much better, especially if you want to support adding multiple tags to a post.