MagicJack: The Aftermath

By  |  Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 9:27 am

Steve Bass's TechBiteOh, my, but you’re a vocal bunch. When you like something, you tell me. Ditto for when you don’t. If you’re new here, read magicJack: The No-Brainer Money Saver.

Here are some responses that landed to my inbox–and a few of my comments.

* Some of you couldn’t believe I had a perfect, landline-quality connection with magicJack. That’s not quite what I said. When it works well, I said, it’s terrific. At times, though, I’ll make a call and the voice quality is dreadful — snapping, popping, and crackling. So I redial. Since I started using MJ, about 75 percent of the time I get good calls on the first try; 25 percent of the time I have to redial. And yes, bad connections and redials are annoying. But in this economy, so was paying AT&T over $300 a year for my extra landline. Now my yearly cost is $20.

* As with all things technological, kids, everyone’s mileage varies. Bad connections could be because of your ISP’s lopsided tubes, your kids downloading music on a networked PC, or the USB 1.0 ports on your ‘486.

* MagicJack doesn’t like Canada as well as it does in the United States. That’s obvious because magicJack doesn’t carry any Canadian phone numbers. Using magicJack in Canada means you’re stuck registering it with a U.S. phone number, and your Canadian buddies have to call the U.S. number. But you folks have great medical care, and very few paparazzi, so I guess it’s a trade, eh?

* I had a dozen messages wondering if magicJack steals passwords, sends spam, or kidnaps children. The most notorious of these accusations — read it on BoingBoing— is a year old. It’s all been proven false. Bob Rankin, a trustworthy journalist, wrote about it in his “Magic Jack – Good or Evil?” series: part 1 and part 2.

* In this corner are the lovers of Skype— and there are lots of you. Funny thing, I use Skype to speak to my Web designer in Singapore for free. But I don’t use Skype often because I already have a headset for my phone; I don’t like needing another one– a USB headset — just for Skype. (That may change: I’m testing Jabra’s GN9350e, a cool-sounding, dual connection wireless headset that lets me swap between the PC and my landline. I’ll keep you posted.)

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]



16 Comments For This Post

  1. Keefer Says:

    There's another alternative to MagicJack not mentioned here: Ooma. Here's a review . . .

    . . . that compares it directly to MagicJack. Like MagicJack, Ooma gives you free telephone service for life. (And, actually, MJ doesn't do that because you pay a yearly fee. Ooma really is free).

    Just so you know, I don't work for Ooma and am not a stockholder or anything. I just like the product.

  2. Jane Says:

    Where can I buy//get Ooma? I desperately need a hose phone connection & cannot afford service,plus I am handy capped. thank you.

  3. Yael Says:

    Mr. Bass: I know you’re too young to remember this, but it seems to me that USBs came out around the time of the Pentium, not the 486 (I used to pick nits for a living; now it’s just a hobby).

  4. Joe Says:

    Oh no! Ads! Like there aren’t a dozen on this page alone.

    It’s cheap, It works perfectly, It saves me money. BTW, there are only two ads that I’ve ever seen on the MJ window. They’re both for other MJ services. Some people are so paranoid about Magic Jack that you’ll believe anything you hear. If you’re not a dummy and you know how to keep your computer clean, then MJ is perfect for you. If you don’t know what you’re doing and you still get pop-ups and such, this is clearly too advanced for you.

    Everything you need to take care of any spy issues is free out there on the internet. It’s not MJ’s fault you’re too dumb to seek them out and run them correctly. Crapware was there before you got MJ and if you allow it, it will be there after you install MJ.

    Occasionally, some things are too good to be true, but they’re true nonetheless.

  5. Roger Says:

    MagicJack. One of the most somplete WASTE of money I have ever done. Just might work. Can not here it ring on the other end (even tho I know it is). The callee picks up and can’t hear me. Can’t talk to the company as they are too scared to list a contact number or site. Piece of you know what.

  6. Camel Says:

    Magicjack is worth the $40 investment, there are so many way it could be improved but for me it has served its purpose and haven't had any problems. Sound quality depends on your internet speed. Ad's are nothing, just a small side banner on the Softphone detailing magicjack services and info. Customer service is online chat only and can be a headache if your having issues but $20 a year, free calling nationwide with a personalized voicemail. The only real neg I would point out is the necessary use of a computer to make/recieve phone calls, must be powered on and also can NOT be in SLEEP MODE which sucks a lot of power. Best solution to this is investing in a Thin Client (Search Thin Client Magicjack at EBAY) for under $100 and you will have a great alternative to expensive landlines.

  7. Judy Says:

    I agree with your comment,add can be removed same as regular phones,call the DO NOT CALL LINE and your good to go.I am as poor as they come and desperately need a phone for emergency reasons as I am handy capped and MJ is the greatest,they have saved me a bundle.Thank you MJ you are a god send and my savior

  8. BigRedTruck Says:

    It says on the site, in nice big letters…”your CC will not be charged for 30 days” It does not say anywhere “the funds will be put on hold for the 30 days”. Then when you want to cancel it, it will take an hour. Then they can do it. THEN when you get a new person, it’s 24 hours. When you argue the point they then cancel it (according to them and a really questionable e-mail) it’s canceled. Now about your money… gonna take a few days to get the “HOLD” off your funds… Doesn’t matter that you may need those funds for something else…No. They can charge you in less than a second, or put a so called “hold” on the funds, but when you call them on it and want your money back it’s oh no we cant do that, you have to wait.

    On top of all this when you ask for a phone number , there is none. No phone number for a phone service? ask for an address and get the same thing…. No address can be disclosed either.

    Sound Fishy? sure does to me. I saved the whole convo with these people. And you better believe I am gonna post it.

  9. Hilbert Levitz Says:

    Been working well for about six months now. I’m using a four year old bottom of the line Dell laptop whose RAM had been upgraded.

    The installation was a no-brainer. I find the voice quality to be very good. I gave up my land line with no regrets. Between MJ and my cell I’m pretty well covered.

    I’ve since bought a second MJ for my office and one for my son, who is a student in Canada

  10. bob Says:

    I have had MagicJack for over 2 years….works well and is a great second phone.
    Sometimes it has problems likely due to my computer…not easy to multitask.
    The interference with cd burning software is annoying.

    Well worth the money though…

  11. Liaidgeoffego Says:

    Hi guys,
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  12. Judy Says:

    Free garbage truck heading west………can you catch up with the truck ok?

  13. TCX Says:


  14. Desperate Says:

    Please tell me how to contact "Magic Jack".
    I purchased a defective one and returned it. I bought another and could not complete installation because I am already "registered".
    I know a couple of other people who have it and they couldn't be happier.
    I ordered a "free" trial of "MJ" over the internet and realized that I won't be able to install that one either
    I really want "MJ" . How can I let them know my dilema?

  15. Judy Says:

    MJ has a complete removal tool or go into regedit and look for MJ also look into C: files as well as control panel,good luck

  16. Jane Says:

    I don't think there is any other contact info.other than the chat forum where you see the big adds.