Duplicating FreeConference.com?

I have a wacky question to throw out there for everyone:

Using Asterisk, how can I create a service like FreeConference.com?

It seems like Meetme or a similar solution could handle the front end, but what about channels? For a service like that, wouldn’t you have to buy tons of channels for all of your callers?

For instance, let’s say I occasionally burst up to 1000 simultaneous callers. If each caller requires a channel, and each channel costs $20 per month, that would cost $20,000 per month.

Is that what these guys providing free teleconference services are really doing? I find it hard to believe that they are losing $100,000 a month or more to give a free conference bridge to everyone.

Or am I missing something?

Given all of the cheap services out there, it seems like there must be a way to get around paying so much money per caller. I mean, even companies that charge for the service, such as EagleTel, only charge like $50 for 1000 simultaneous callers.

How are they making money? Is there a way to get around the one caller per channel barrier?

These may help explain how they make money:

freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1139

and

saunderslog.com/2006/10/11/whats … area-code/

Basically, they get a portion of the toll charges used to connect to the service.

(Note: I worked for 13 years at a conference call company prior to getting into asterisk consulting)

Ah, that answers a lot of questions! That’s pretty creative on their part.

But what about other, smaller flat rate companies like Eagle Teleconferencing (eagleconf.com)? You can get up to like 1000 callers for $50 a month. Their area code is 646. Are they also getting a portion of the fees?

There are lots of other companies, too. InstantConference.com, RentABridge.com, Yugma.com, and others all provide free or flat rate teleconferencing. Are they all getting a portion of the fees?

It’s possible, I suppose, but it seems like there may be another way of getting around the $20 per channel problem.

I don’t know how Eagle does it. But they all make money somehow. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be in business. :wink: Sometimes they make their revenue on added services (toll free access, Recordings, Transcriptions, Operator Assisted Services, Q&A Sessions, Web Collaboration, etc) other times they may charge a per minute bridge fee.

How are you coming up with $20/channel? A T1 typically runs less than that, and when you get into a DS3 the savings are larger. You could also colo your servers in a carrier facility and save on any last mile charges. There is also the options of using SIP via an ITSP.