My job involves a lot of technical selling, which means a lot of talking.
I regularly hop in to calls of 3-, 4-, 5- or more parties, and the logistics
of schedule coordination can be a hassle, as can sending out reminders and
setting up conferencing features on the office phone system.
No more. One of the most truly useful tools that the Internet has spawned
is conference call services, and my favorite is Freeconference.com.
It is exactly what its name implies—free—while being eminently
easy to use for both the conference initiator and the participants.
Establishing an account is easy, and it doesn’t require a monthly subscription
fee or even a credit card to get started. Help and tutorials are abundant,
but the service is pretty straightforward and easy to use, and I’ve rarely
The service offers two Web-Scheduled options: Premium 800 and Standard. Both
options offer you the ability to schedule a conference in durations ranging
from 25 minutes to 2 hours and 55 minutes, and to send out email invitations
to invitees and solicit RSVPs.
The Standard service is absolutely free; the only cost that you or your participants
will incur is long distance charges (which, with many cell phone plans and
voice-over-IP services like Vonage (review to come in a future column), is
a moot point anyway) for calling the Las Vegas area phone number that the service
provides. The Premium 800 service provides, as the name implies, a toll-free
number, but you will need to pay $.10/minute per participant in the call. This
is still pretty affordable (and cheap relative to the competition), and I use
it when scheduling calls with customers and prospects.
To schedule a call, you simply log in, click the Schedule button on your
account toolbar, select the option you want (Premium or Standard), and let
Freeconference know the details about your call (number of participants,
date and time of call, and duration of the conference).
Next, you are asked
to provide an access code for your callers for security purposes, then
you will provide a conference title and description that will be sent to
all the invitees, so that they know the agenda up front. Finally, you provide
Freeconference with the names, email addresses and time zones for each
of the participants, confirm the conference, and you’re off!
will receive an emailed invitation within a few minutes, and will be
asked to RSVP to the invitation. As the conference manager, you will receive
notice if any invite was undeliverable along with all RSVPs (both accept and
I usually call in a minute or two before the call is scheduled to start. When
calling in, you are asked to provide your access code; you are then told how
many callers are currently on the call, then you are asked to announce yourself
at the beep. A tone that can be heard by all chimes you in, and the fun begins.
The technology, in the 18 teleconferences that I have scheduled and managed
since I started using the service, has been absolutely flawless for both the
Standard and the Premium service. Line quality is superb, and there have been
no dropped calls or the odd noises and gaps that I have heard on other provider’s
services. I’ve used it for conferences ranging in length from a half
hour to nearly two hours, with up to ten participants at a time, and it works
like a charm.
The Roam Office verdict on Freeconference.com: Highly Recommended.