Tempest in a Voicemail


The leading argument this weekend seems destined to be over voicemail. Techcrunch’s Mike Arrington kicked things off with his own anti-voicemail blog entry. Based on his own experiences and a survey of folks on Friendfeed, he condemns voicemail as being a nuisance and a disruption of the daily workflow.

Personally, I think it’s too soon to pronounce the death of voicemail; I know I end up leaving, and listening to, voice messages every week. Perhaps in certain small areas, or sectors where email has 100% penetration, text beats voice. But out here in the heartland, even a full-time web worker can’t do without a way to communicate asynchronously with people who aren’t emailable.

How about you? Are you ready to turn your voicemail off? Are you looking for some service (like one of the speech-to-text companies, or visual voicemail) to make it more manageable? Or are you content with the way things are now?



Definitely Youmail for me too. I’m addicted to the reverse lookup for unknown callers and the MP3 attachments. I don’t use the feature that can hang up on selected callers (ditch mail) but use it when i travel. I wish they’d have a feature that can choose different greetings based on time of day.
Oh, and i saved over $200 by checking my voicemails online when i was in germany a few weeks ago.


Youmail.com has been the best solution for avoiding voicemail. I wish my company would use it. It sends the voicemail as an mp3 attachment into your email. You can also do custom greetings based on who calls.



Tons of ways to get your messages. I have a custom voice message and get all voicemails in an
email with
voice to text,
caller id,
and an audio attachment of the message I can open in my blackberry media player and listen to if I want.

And it is free although texting charges, etc. depend on your phone carrier plan.


Sooner or later it doesn’t matter. Jott and similar services will eventually overcome the speech to text barrier. I have used both Callwave and Youmail. I keep going back to Callwave because I get the transcripted text in my e-mail and to SMS. In the end it doesn’t matter


Voicemail annoys me. I only use it at work. In my perosnal life, I just can’t deal with it!

Todd Andrews

We need to get to the root of the problem. Voice to Text programs help but we need to reduce supply in the first place. Get others to stop leaving VM in the first place.

Mike D

I hate voicemail, The only time I ever miss timely, important information is when someone leaves it for me as a voicemail only. After reading Arrington’s post I looked at the companies doing voicemail transcription and decided to go with Phonetag to start.


I turned off my voicemail at my desk about a year and a half ago. I have been using Callwave until yesterday when I switched to youmail.

I don’t leave voice mails unless I am being cute or sappy. For business I don’t usually even wait for voice mail to pick up.

The missed call on the phone is good enough to have the person call me back.


Intensely dislike voicemail. It’s disruptive, quality always drops just as the vmailer is leaving their number, and most vmailers leave completely pointless vm’s.
If you need to put something on my mobile, text it to me – I don’t have to go through a whole process to access it.
Never leave them myself, and usually just delete mine in one go…

Paul J.

I compromised in the middle. I switched to SpinVox (voice-to-text service) so I get my voice mails as messages. It’s not perfect but it’s much better than listening to endless people blab on. Those who want to leave a message do. Those who don’t, send mails. I get everything in my in-box as readable text.


Visual Voicemail on my iPhone is great. I still think people need voicemail. It’s also much easier sometimes to say things then to type them. I can’t stand ‘old’ voice mail and love the fact I can fast forward, which I use all the time. It still fits certain people, especially the not-so-technical client. For me, Visual Voicemail is the way to go to keep everything organized and easily manageable, even if that means just deleting it without a listen.


Problem is that if you deal with anyone in a large company or anyone who isn’t a web worker you simply cannot get away from it if you want to serve them the way they expect to be served.

Even if you answer quickly in email, most non-tech company folk will deem you unresponsive unless you pick up that phone and leave a voicemail.

To them, it’s real effort.


I feel missed calls suffices for most messaging, as in “hey, I called, call me back.” I’ve trained my mom to not leave “call me” messages because I see she called.

I hate voicemail, but right now I don’t see much of an alternative. It’s such a hassle because each time I check I need to type in my code.

So I’ll miss a call, call them right back and in the middle of our conversation get a beep and know I’m going to have to waste a minute deleting their half message.

I’ve thought about instructing people to email me through my voicemail message, but I’m not sure if that would come off as rude.


My guess is that most of the “voicemail is dead” crowd don’t work for a large company. VM is alive and well in corporate America and is likely to live on for many years – much like the fax.


I haven’t used voicemail for years. I don’t see it as a nuisance or a disruption, I simply don’t like it, so I don’t use it. I can see how it can be construed as a nuisance though. If its important, people will call back.

Joe Wehr

I don’t get the need to pronounce voicemail dead

Shouldn’t it be about choice and personal preference and style

While it may be quicker to read an email than listen to a voicemail, isn’t it quicker to leave a voicemail than type an email?

Use what works for you and accept what works for your colleague.

Reminds of the “soup nazi” on Seinfeld.

Get over it. There are bigger problems that merit our attention.

If one has time to debate this one has time to listen to a voicemail.


I whole heartedly agree with Martijn and Mike @ TC. I am to the point where I just simply do not listen to messages. I would like to just turn off voicemail – the only advantage being that it stops the annoying ringing after only 4 rings. I would love an announce only outgoing message. Voicemail is dead to me.

Martijn Engler

The past week I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to stop using my voicemail.
Will I just disable it (I think I can do that with my provider), leave a message saying people should mail me or say that they should simply text me?
I’m not sure where the right answer lies for me, but I *am* sure that, for me, voicemail is dead.

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