(Almost) instant pizza, thanks to CallMyName

Company’s digital directory changing the face of Web identity and brand management.

January 9, 2012 22:11
4 minute read.
[illustrative photo]

Computer technology keyboard 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Catherine Benson)

It’s been a long day, but now it’s time to unwind – with a pizza, piping hot from the pizzeria’s oven to your door. It’s not too much to ask, is it? Depends whose doing the asking.

If you’re an organized person, you have the number of your favorite pizza place on your phone’s speed dial (yes, having a good pizza close at hand is just as important as having your wife’s or boss’s number handy). Or, you still have the magnet they sent over last time.

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But chances are you aren’t that organized – because you would have called the pizzeria on the way home and had them meet you as you came home. And since you’re not that organized, you don’t have the pizzeria’s number, meaning that you have to run to the phone book, the Internet or the next-door neighbor to get the right number.

And there goes another “relaxing” evening, right down the drain! You deserve a break today, and Israeli startup CallMyName (also known as DialMyName) has that break for you. If you want pizza, why should you have to remember an esoteric, illogical set of numbers to reach the pizzeria? Who decided that we have to use numbers to make a phone call, anyway? Why not use letters? And if we’re using letters, why can’t the “phone number” of the pizzeria be P-I-Z-Z-A, instead of 2459-649-301? No reason why it can’t be, says CallMyName CEO Ariel Efrati.

“In the Internet era, everyone – business or individual – is a ‘brand name,’ and the easier you make it for others to remember and reach that brand, the more success you’ll have,” said Efrati.

To help with that branding effort, CallMyName has opened the Call- Name Registry – a sort of domainname system where users can claim a name and use it as their “contact address,” allowing people to reach them not only by phone, but by SMS, e-mail, Facebook, website, etc.

– any method of Internet-age communication is fair game for the Cname registry.

Let’s use our pizza example. With the “traditional” method of ordering a pizza, you have to go through the aforementioned hassle to get your pizza delivered. But with CallMyName, you just open up the app (there’s a version for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian devices; in fact, said Efrati, CallMy- Name will work on 97% of phones), do a search for “pizza,” and pick the one you want. Click on the name, and CallMyName will automatically dial the “real” phone number of the establishment – and within 30 minutes (or less, otherwise it’s free!) you’ll be chowing down on your favorite snack.

Businesses, for instance, can choose to advertise names such as “Rose Flowers,” “Handy Man,” or “Mortgage Direct” as an impossible- to-forget call-name to be easily reached by their clients. Individuals can choose call-names such as “Dave Anthony” or “Cool Dave” to identify and brand themselves.

“For teens today, it’s all about brand management,” said Efrati.

“A Cname entry helps them stand out, make them easier to contact and more identifiable to their friends.”

CallMyName is akin to a DNS (domain name registry) for phone numbers, said Efrati; just like DNS website names are simply a reference to IP addresses, the call-name registry text is a reference to phone numbers.

“A server does the registration and reservation of names for phone numbers worldwide,” said Efrati.

“We can associate all communication methods with an entry, so all the user has to remember – or look up in the registry – is the company’s name.” The backbone of the resolving network supporting the dialers is based on modular, carriergrade components that can easily be integrated with the operator’s existing infrastructure using standard mobile protocols, thus reducing integration to a minimum while maintaining the core network unchanged. And the registry is “SIM-centric,” meaning that it can easily be deployed on SIM cards for use by operators around the world.

Right now, CallMyName is available in Germany, Britain, and Israel (where the app is called DialMyName), and will soon be available in other countries, including Turkey. And in Israel, obtaining a Cname directory entry costs NIS 1,100 a year – “a great alternative to the Yellow Pages, which costs NIS 2,000 a year,” said Efrati. Within a few months, he said, a version of the app will be released that will allow individuals to open Cname accounts for free or for low cost.

“We have about 100,000 users already, but I am sure we will have a lot more when we open membership up to individuals,” said Efrati.

“Everyone who has a Web identity is going to want entry into the Call-Name Directory.”

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