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Vonage floats new voice gateway test offer: they'll pay you, too!

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reports he has received an email from Vonage inviting him to test a new gateway device that will, according to the email, "inspire" consumers to proudly display their Vonage router rather than hide it under their desk."If you are looking for this new device on the Vonage site, you won't find it.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor on

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reports he has received an email from Vonage inviting him to test a new gateway device that will, according to the email, "inspire" consumers to proudly display their Vonage router rather than hide it under their desk."

If you are looking for this new device on the Vonage site, you won't find it. But details emerge in the email pitch. Testers are earning a $30 Vonage credit on their Vonage bill, as well as a month of free service during the test.

The canned, "Dear Michael Arrington" header makes it obvious this test offer was sent to Michael as a consumer- not via his status in the industry- I feel comfortable citing from it here.

Dear Michael Arrington,

Vonage is pleased to unveil a new line of “Vonage” branded Voice Gateways. These products have been designed and engineered to be user-friendly. They incorporate a liquid crystal display (LCD) to guide you through setup and help resolve technical issues. The LCD also displays Caller ID information, and other helpful status messages. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messages are also still utilized to help resolve issues. The first product showcased is the Vonage VDV21. See the feature list below.

VDV 21 Features

Industrial design uniquely developed for Vonage - a cool and sleek, yet simplistic and approachable design that will inspire consumers to proudly display their Vonage router rather than hide it under their desk Two lines of VoIP (2 RJ-11 FXS Ports) Voice-over-data prioritization - talk on the phone while using the Internet with no reduction in voice quality T.38 Fax Support Ringer Equivalency Number (REN) of 5 - in laymen’s terms, can support 3 or 4 telephony devices in each port GR-909 Line Testing - will self-diagnose if your telephone/home wiring has problems Built in Single Port Router (RJ-45 LAN Ethernet 10/100 Port) - will support a user’s PC (or home network connection) User friendly, built-in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) with Caller ID and call timer Call Logs (Missed/Received/Dialed) - up to 50 entries each Voicemail waiting indication Brightness control - individual settings for normal conditions as well as when there is voicemail waiting Built-in upstream bandwidth tester Network status information (LAN/WAN) such as IP Address, Subnet Mask, etc. Error messages plus suggestions on what to do to fix the problem - for example, it can detect when your Internet connection is down, one of your cables accidentally becomes loose or disconnected, or if you’re a DSL user and you need to set up PPPoE Secure web-based User Interface for Configuration Improved User Interface, with built-in FAQs and Contextual Help to assist non-technical users with setting up their router (setting up a network, PPPoE, parental controls, etc.)

As a valued Vonage customer, we are inviting you to apply to participate in the beta test trial of our new VDV21. Beta trial participants help us to thoroughly evaluate new products prior to formal product introduction. For a 30 day beta period, you will be asked to use the VDV21 and Vonage Premium Unlimited Plan service at no charge. Note: charges will still apply for 411 calls and international calls not included in the Premium Unlimited Plan. In return for your participation in the beta program, you will receive a credit of $29.99 on your primary Vonage account. You may use the credit as you please – toward your phone bill or to try out a Vonage add-on feature such as a virtual number. Your existing Vonage service will continue as normal during the beta trial. We ask that you please apply on or before Monday, August 6th. Space is limited. Please read below for detailed information pertaining to the beta trial.

You may connect the VDV21 to an existing router if you have one, or directly to your broadband modem. The VDV21 offers one LAN port, so you may connect a computer to it. The VDV21 offers two Vonage phone ports; however, only one will be active for the beta trial.

As a participant in the beta trial, you will be asked to:

Activate your beta device on to a separate beta account with its own unique phone number. This number will only be active for the duration of the beta period. It will be independent of your current Vonage service. A valid credit card will be required for activation. Your credit card will only be charged for 411 calls and international calls (if charges apply). Provide weekly feedback via an on-line survey regarding your experiences with activation, installation, and usage of the VDV21. Upon successful completion of the beta program, we will credit your main Vonage account $29.99. The conditions for this credit include:

Successfully activating and using the VDV21 Single Port Router. Completing the weekly 5 minute on-line feedback survey. Returning the VDV21 in satisfactory condition. A pre-paid return shipping label will be provided.

To apply to participate, please click on the link below. This link will take you to an application on forums.vonage.com.

VDV21 Beta Trial Application

Thank you for your interest and continued support of Vonage.

The rest of the excerpt contains an offer acceptance link- configured for each applicant.

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