I am willing to make an investment. I sent this as a PM to one person but thought I should open it up:
Automated calls in political campaigns is a huge business. It has a lot of advantages over other forms of communications (though there are limits as well).
Recorded messages from celebrities or candidates motivating people to go vote or show up at a rally or meeting make up the bulk of the calls.
A second market is for research - you ask people yes/no questions. While participation is really low and the survey results are scientifically specious, it is much less expensive and much faster than using live operators (even Indian ones) and if your goal is to find 10,000 people that say ‘yes’ to the question ‘Do you own an SUV’, there is no better way.
A new market I am also looking to get involved with is a ‘phone push’ where after an organization sends out a direct mail fundraising piece, we follow-up with a brief recorded message reminding them to send that piece back in or to just go to the website and make a contribution there.
Another new market I want to explore is using this for fundraising alone. Just give a recorded message making a quick pitch for your cause and then drive that to a website.
The first two markets are dominated by firms using traditional T1- 24 channel (or whatever) methods and proprietary systems.
I believe that using VIOP, Asterisk, and a relationship with a major hook-up (and I think I have found one that will give me access to a large number of channels at a sub-cent rate), I will be able to sell a lot of calls.
I am currently a pretty successful political consultant and I provide a lot of services that are related to this. I want to use the ‘Standard Oil’ process of expanding my control of the supply chain.
Most of my competitors offer calls at around 6-10 cents per connect although I have gotten as low as 3 if I press. However, in the political consulting field, low prices aren’t enough - you need relationships, the ability to offer referral fees, and other value-added services. I have all of that.
What is the budget? Geez - what does it need to be. How cheap would the hardware I need to have to push enough calls to control, say, 50 channels (which means maybe 13 live calls) through a T-1. I can get the T-1 at around $500 a month.
I have a lot of marketing opportunities but need to figure out my cost structure first.
Anyway, those are my thoghts. I have a tremendous ability to sell this stuff - and often have sold it but only by brokering someone else’s hardware. I want my own.
What do you think?