VOIP phone number links?
June 19, 2006 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Are there any VOIP services that allow hyperlinks to open connections to specific phone numbers?

I have a website with a bunch of phone numbers on it. I'd gladly point visitors of this site to a VOIP service if I could link the phone numbers to something that would allow visitors to open calls to the numbers (probably after registration or login), but I don't see any services that offer this. I found instructions for creating links to Skype calls, but it's only by username, not phone number. Now that Skype is offering free calls to phone numbers, I don't know why they'd offer username links, but not phone number links. Is there a service that offers the phone number linking I'm looking for? If not, why not? It seems like such an obvious way to attract new customers.
posted by scottreynen to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Vonage offers this apparently.
posted by kindall at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2006

Response by poster: That's closer than anything I found, but it looks like it only works for current Vonage customers, and it's only POST requests, so it doesn't really work for simple linking. What I want is http://voipservice.com/call?number=123-456-7890 and when someone clicks that link, they will be prompted for their login and password, or guided through a registration process if they don't already have a login and password, and then the call will be initiated. But apparently no one offers such a service. I don't know why they wouldn't.
posted by scottreynen at 7:49 PM on June 19, 2006

How would this work? You need a special piece of software (softphone) to make a VOIP call, so if I registered, then I'd have to download the software first, install it all, set it up with my username/password details... It seems like a lot of bother just to save me typing the number into my phone.

Now then, if I was an existing customer with the softphone installed, I can see just clicking the link and it opening in my existing software, so I'd say vonage is the best you're going to get, although I agree that the POST with the username/password might not be the best way to do it.
posted by ranglin at 10:24 PM on June 19, 2006

Best answer: Skype does offer phone number links. An example:
Call this non-existent number.

Just don't forget the country and area codes.
posted by A Kingdom for a Donkey at 10:52 PM on June 19, 2006

Response by poster: A Kingdom, that's exactly what I was looking for. It looks like it's vendor-neutral too, which is even better. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to do anything without VOIP software already installed, but maybe I can do something with JavaScript to catch such people and point them to available services.

ranglin, if you're someone who would click on a "call free online" link, I think that's about what you'd expect to happen.
posted by scottreynen at 5:33 AM on June 20, 2006

Though I don't have a copy of the spec to hand, I think the "callto:" URI scheme works like the "mailto:" one; in other words, you shouldn't use the "//" in the address, just format it like this: Call me.

From memory, Safari doesn't work with the slashed version.
posted by blag at 8:00 AM on June 20, 2006

The Vonage link uses your actual phone, just by the way, not a softphone. Your phone rings, you pick it up and hear the other end of the call ringing.
posted by kindall at 9:03 AM on June 24, 2006

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