Blog Post

PalTalk Buys Virtual Phone-Number Provider Vumber

Video-based chat service Paltalk has acquired Vumber, a service that provides “disposable” phone numbers. Terms weren’t disclosed. New York-based PalTalk began working with Vumber last February. Vumber’s service promises privacy and an additional layer of call-screening for people who use dating sites, online personals and chat-rooms. By tying up with Vumber, which forwards calls to users’ private phone numbers, PalTalk will be able to use the service to market its other offerings.

Chat tools are becoming more common for general media sites — see NBC Universal’s Communicator app, which offers VoIP and text, as the latest example. PalTalk already works with AOL (NYSE: TWX), MSN and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), so having Vumber supply another feature could make those ties more valuable.

The purchase is also designed to set PalTalk apart from other IM clients like Meebo and SeeToo. But the most important thing Vumber has is subscription revenue. Vumber charges users a monthly $4.99 $9.95 subscription fee, plus $1.99 for a new number. While that’s not a lot of money at this point, the 11-year-old PalTalk, which claims to get about 80 percent of its revenues from subs, says the service could become a meaningful part of its business over the long term.