I wanted to know where is the best place to get a toll free number and how it works. Like do they forward it and different rates and all. I am starting a new web hosting company and would some info on this. Also about the automated telephone network. Like I don't know if thats whats called but like you know when you call....someone says Welcome.....press 1 for this and 2 for that. DO the same companies offer that or is that something else altogether.
There are some phone companies that can people can dial your 1-800-number and transfer it to your home phone, but it rings uniquely so you don't have to constantly answer the phone with your business name. Check with ones in your area to see if they have that option.
Check out, http://www.vonage.com they offer toll-free numbers on the voip platform which is cheaper compared to the ones offered by phone companies.
The setup works like this. You sign up for a toll free number in the area of your choice through their website. Anyone who calls the toll-free number is first taken to the local vo-ip gateway of the provider, say vonage.com and then routed through the internet to the place you reside and from the vo-ip gateway of your place its routed to the PSTN line of your area which terminates the call at your home phone. Another option is to avoid the PSTN way and just by having a telephone adapator(a small instrument connected to your internet line which translates the voip call into a form which could be processed by your normal telephone) to hook your existing phone into the internet to recieve voip calls.
Usually this method works out cheap as the end point PSTN route is avoided and you recieve the calls directly from the providers voip gateway. :-)
I believe GotvMail (http://gotvmail.com) would be your best solution. It has everything you will need, and lists the features on their site, and how it works. We haev the Virtual one Standard with 500 min.
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I use Kall8.com. They have a nice web interface and the basic features. They can also send the 800 number as the caller-id so you know when you get a call from that number. I don't have a dedicated business line yet so it is nice to know who is calling for business. (Vonage doesn't do distinctive ring).
Also, the affiliate commission is 10% perpetual so if you get enough referrals you don't need a hosting business