IQ News: Talkopia Offers Free Net Phone Service

Santa Monica-based will officially go live today, offering free local and unlimited long distance Internet phone service.
Talkopia’s free icon is downloaded to users’ desktops and then allows browsers telephone communication while on the Internet, explained Ravi Asnani, president. “This is the next step in instant messaging, chat rooms and online communities,” he said.
Users must purchase a headset with microphone separately. Asnani said he hoped would register 500,000 users by the end of the year, targeting ages 13 to 27.
Flycast Communications is on tap to distribute banner ads, and Handspring, a handheld PC manufacturer, helped sponsor a beta test. To supplement the efforts of MacKenzie Kesselring, a Portland, Ore.-based public relations firm, Asnani seeks an ad agency to help build and market the brand at the grassroots level. “I want to deliver this to the people themselves,” he said.