My friend Doug alerted me to a new service he thought would be perfect for daters (no, he’s not representing the company). It’s called GrandCentral.com.
It allows you to have a free phone number in any area code you want. You can give it to guys you meet online or in person and there’s no way to trace the number back to your name or address. Additionally, you set it to forward to the phone(s) you want: cell, home, work. You can even set it to forward to a different phone depending on the time of day so you don’t get dating calls at work.
You can screen your calls or block callers you don’t want to talk to. You can listen in on people leaving voice mail before taking the call. Sounds perfect for avoiding stalkers or those who are obtuse. For guys who don’t really understand “I don’t want to see you anymore,” now you don’t have to change your number.
It lets you have different messages for different callers. “Yes, Steve, my sweet patootie, I’d love to have dinner with you Sunday.” “No, Dash, it’s too little too late, so please don’t call again.” “No Robin, calling me at 10:00 p.m. to ask if you can bring over a DVD screams ‘bootie call’ and I’m not interested.”
Which reminds me of this message, reported to be on someone’s answer machine, forwarded from my friend Paulette Ensign (The Booklet Queen).
“I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes.”
If you are out of the US (like DG readers Gatti, Cat and ER), you can get a US number if you’re communicating with folks in the US, then hear your voice mails from the GrandCentral web site. If you want to talk to the person real time, you can always use Skype for pennies per minute.
If you’re interested, now during the beta period they are offering goodies to try the service. You can have unlimited inbound minutes, unlimited voicemail, and all premium features, including call record. You can check voice mail from a phone or the web site.
I contacted the owners and they said they’d give DG readers a $5 credit on outbound calling. You can then return calls directly from your voice mail or from the site while displaying your GrandCentral caller ID and keeping your phone number private. But for GrandCentral to know you’re one of my readers and get the $5 credit, you need to use the code “DatingGoddess” in the promotion code field on the sign up page.
If Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, JDate and other sites were savvy, they’d have this service as part of their package. It would eliminate many of those jitters of “Do I trust him enough to give him my number?”
I signed up for the beta. If you do, too, let me know what you think.