Ether to open up services

Michael Arrington, over at TechCrunch, again launches another new company. But this one I know something about too because I met with the founders last week. They have an interesting concept and a — gasp — business model.

They’ll let you sell your time online. Say I want to start a consulting business to help companies get into blogging. I could set a price, let’s say $100 on weekdays, $300 on weekends. (There’s no minimum price, by the way, you could try it for free if you want to see how the system works).

They give me a number. I put that number on my blog. You call that number and it’ll make the appointment, take care of collecting your payment info, and do EVERYTHING about the call. They collect a small percentage of your fee.

I liked this cause it was unexpected. It did something I didn’t know I needed, but once I saw the concept I saw that it’ll let new people start businesses that they might never have considered before.

Anyone have any ideas of how they’d use Ether?

40 thoughts on “Ether to open up services

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  2. My company is considering using it for pay-per-call support. It’s a very simple way for us to try it out, and if things work well, we can switch to an 800-number with our own credit card processor.

  3. My company is considering using it for pay-per-call support. It’s a very simple way for us to try it out, and if things work well, we can switch to an 800-number with our own credit card processor.

  4. I can’t wait to use Ether, either. :) Considering that my favorite blogs are the cooking blogs, I would a number to call for recipe help. Not the weird ladies you get on the side of the meatloaf mix box, but with Ether you would know who you were calling and you may be even you call someone who made that recipe, if you got it from their blog.

  5. I can’t wait to use Ether, either. :) Considering that my favorite blogs are the cooking blogs, I would a number to call for recipe help. Not the weird ladies you get on the side of the meatloaf mix box, but with Ether you would know who you were calling and you may be even you call someone who made that recipe, if you got it from their blog.

  6. From the Ether blog:

    […] Unlike our Live!Advice directories like Keen.com, Ether is a distributed model. It turns the directories model inside-out, giving tools to sellers to sell their time not at a centralized marketplace, but out in the world — at their blog, website, business card, radio show, etc. — wherever they have customer relationships. And we’ve built an entirely new feature set for sellers to sell whatever they have to say (though selling adult content is not permitted) within this new context.

    Simply, Ether is like PayPal for time, while our Live!Advice directories like Keen.com are more like Ebay. […]

    http://community.ether.com/blogs/ether_blog/default.aspx

  7. From the Ether blog:

    […] Unlike our Live!Advice directories like Keen.com, Ether is a distributed model. It turns the directories model inside-out, giving tools to sellers to sell their time not at a centralized marketplace, but out in the world — at their blog, website, business card, radio show, etc. — wherever they have customer relationships. And we’ve built an entirely new feature set for sellers to sell whatever they have to say (though selling adult content is not permitted) within this new context.

    Simply, Ether is like PayPal for time, while our Live!Advice directories like Keen.com are more like Ebay. […]

    http://community.ether.com/blogs/ether_blog/default.aspx

  8. Cool! More fraud and money laundering on the internet. Where can I sign up… (with your bank account information?)

  9. Cool! More fraud and money laundering on the internet. Where can I sign up… (with your bank account information?)

  10. 8. Tom, it was great speaking with you the other day. Go, get Robert to try to sell some of his time ;)

    9. John, yeah, extensions are a bit lengthy for sure at the moment…we’ve got other options lined up, but for now this will be a bit painful on an inbound call. Clearly not in the sellers, nor our, best interest to have the buyer have to deal with this pain, conversion clearly matters a lot. Still early…

    10. Mashable, where in the world are you? I really hope we serve you, your blog definitely made an impression over here…we want to serve the world, but we’re a bit careful right now, so I’m not sure if we are serving you…let us know where you are…

    11. Andy, I do hope we’ll provide you with what you need.

    12. Darren, we’ve put a lot of thought into the ways people will successfully connect. Check out our options for managing presence, callbacks and scheduling (yes, we do offer sceduled calls). We would love to know if we’re providing the functionality that would work for you.

    Overall, the beta requests is way beyond what we can, or should, handle right now so unfortunately we won’t be able to let everyone in. But soon enough we’ll really open the doors wider, thanks for being patient with us for a bit…

  11. 8. Tom, it was great speaking with you the other day. Go, get Robert to try to sell some of his time ;)

    9. John, yeah, extensions are a bit lengthy for sure at the moment…we’ve got other options lined up, but for now this will be a bit painful on an inbound call. Clearly not in the sellers, nor our, best interest to have the buyer have to deal with this pain, conversion clearly matters a lot. Still early…

    10. Mashable, where in the world are you? I really hope we serve you, your blog definitely made an impression over here…we want to serve the world, but we’re a bit careful right now, so I’m not sure if we are serving you…let us know where you are…

    11. Andy, I do hope we’ll provide you with what you need.

    12. Darren, we’ve put a lot of thought into the ways people will successfully connect. Check out our options for managing presence, callbacks and scheduling (yes, we do offer sceduled calls). We would love to know if we’re providing the functionality that would work for you.

    Overall, the beta requests is way beyond what we can, or should, handle right now so unfortunately we won’t be able to let everyone in. But soon enough we’ll really open the doors wider, thanks for being patient with us for a bit…

  12. I’ve had a number of companies approach me over the last 6 months who are developing similar things to enable bloggers to charge out themselves automatically for consulting.

    I’d definately use it as I already do skype/paypal type consulting which I have to do manually – but to have something like this automate it would let me put more time into consulting work.

    My only suggestion would be that they enable calls to be booked as I like to have a schedule for the day ahead of time.

  13. I’ve had a number of companies approach me over the last 6 months who are developing similar things to enable bloggers to charge out themselves automatically for consulting.

    I’d definately use it as I already do skype/paypal type consulting which I have to do manually – but to have something like this automate it would let me put more time into consulting work.

    My only suggestion would be that they enable calls to be booked as I like to have a schedule for the day ahead of time.

  14. An idea like this is sorely needed for the music industry. I am a musician, and I beleive all music should be free- but at the same time, I’d love to find a way to support myself, as well as offering something of real value to fans. I would love to use Ether or a similar service to allow people to pay a fee to be able to talk to me, or give input, or access to new material I’m working on, etc, as well access my entire catalog of released music.

    This would also establish artist loyalty, and form a genuine connection (not just a sense of one) between artist and fanbase.

    Interesting..

  15. An idea like this is sorely needed for the music industry. I am a musician, and I beleive all music should be free- but at the same time, I’d love to find a way to support myself, as well as offering something of real value to fans. I would love to use Ether or a similar service to allow people to pay a fee to be able to talk to me, or give input, or access to new material I’m working on, etc, as well access my entire catalog of released music.

    This would also establish artist loyalty, and form a genuine connection (not just a sense of one) between artist and fanbase.

    Interesting..

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  17. I think it’s a brilliant idea, let down quite spectacularly by one part of the implementation.

    Call me now! Just dial these eleven digits, wait for a voice prompt, and enter these extra 8 digits!

    Give me my own number, damnit.

  18. I think it’s a brilliant idea, let down quite spectacularly by one part of the implementation.

    Call me now! Just dial these eleven digits, wait for a voice prompt, and enter these extra 8 digits!

    Give me my own number, damnit.

  19. I interviewed Ether yesterday and was put on the beta. I also have some screenshots and some theoretical ideas for using Ether:

    http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/voip/ether-enables-pay-per-advice-service-leveraging-voip.asp

    >>Scobleizer: Anyone have any ideas of how they’d use Ether?

    Scobleizer, you’re a famous blogger, people should simply pay for the “privilege” of speaking with you, nevermind if you have anything “valuable” to say.
    : )

  20. I interviewed Ether yesterday and was put on the beta. I also have some screenshots and some theoretical ideas for using Ether:

    http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/voip/ether-enables-pay-per-advice-service-leveraging-voip.asp

    >>Scobleizer: Anyone have any ideas of how they’d use Ether?

    Scobleizer, you’re a famous blogger, people should simply pay for the “privilege” of speaking with you, nevermind if you have anything “valuable” to say.
    : )

  21. Yes, I have a few ideas for how this might be used with digital content delivery but need to test the process first to see if what I’m thinking will work. I filled out the beta invite and will wait.

  22. Yes, I have a few ideas for how this might be used with digital content delivery but need to test the process first to see if what I’m thinking will work. I filled out the beta invite and will wait.

  23. “Anyone have any ideas of how they’d use Ether?”

    Yes. This is, oddly, almost exactly the same business model I use for a service I’ve been providing for more than 3 years. It’s just that rather than a telephone call, we use SMS. Rather than negotiating the cost, we set it as a fixed single low cost up front, and rather than providing a wide range of services, we cover one genre only.

    But there’s still a real person at the other end, and there has been a real person there for the past 1,155 days (weekends and holidays included).

    So yes, I know exactly what I’ll use this service for, assuming it’s not a US-only one like so many ‘groundbreaking web 2.0′ companies and will actually let me provide service from where I live.

  24. “Anyone have any ideas of how they’d use Ether?”

    Yes. This is, oddly, almost exactly the same business model I use for a service I’ve been providing for more than 3 years. It’s just that rather than a telephone call, we use SMS. Rather than negotiating the cost, we set it as a fixed single low cost up front, and rather than providing a wide range of services, we cover one genre only.

    But there’s still a real person at the other end, and there has been a real person there for the past 1,155 days (weekends and holidays included).

    So yes, I know exactly what I’ll use this service for, assuming it’s not a US-only one like so many ‘groundbreaking web 2.0′ companies and will actually let me provide service from where I live.

  25. This is cool. I had read about ether before and also given my email address. Unfortunately I havent got any invitation yet. I love this idea and my side business would definitely be selling my music scripts which i wrote part time for 10-20$. I just hope I get an invite soon enough.

  26. This is cool. I had read about ether before and also given my email address. Unfortunately I havent got any invitation yet. I love this idea and my side business would definitely be selling my music scripts which i wrote part time for 10-20$. I just hope I get an invite soon enough.

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