Posted by: Marty Fahncke | November 7, 2007

Sending into the ether

As a consultant, people pay me for advice, strategy, and information. I’m always looking for unique and effective ways to disseminate that information, including teleseminars, speaking to groups, writing magazine articles, etc.

Normally, I’m paid on a monthly retainer basis. However, quite often I run across business people who need my help for a shorter term. Sometimes just to ask one question or discuss a single problem.

As a general rule, I don’t bill on an hourly basis, so that makes the “short term” situation difficult.

Several months ago, I thought I found the answer. It was called

The promise (from their website) is:

Earn money selling what you say.
Get your free Ether Phone Number. Set your rate. Set your hours.
Your phone only rings when people pay to talk to you. logo

Essentially, it’s a pay-per-minute advice line. You set up an account, post their ads on your blogs and website, and your phone will start ringing with customers paying you per minute for advice.

The phone rings alright. Every day.

You see, they have this computer system that calls you to make sure you are available to take calls. So no matter where I was, in whatever time zone, Ether would call every morning to make sure I was available. It was only mildly annoying until this past weekend.

I’m assuming due to a glitch related to the daylight savings the time change, the Ether computer called me at 4 AM Sunday to see if I was available to take calls!

That was the last straw. I went online to cancel my account.

It turns out, you can’t.

I checked all of their help screens, FAQ’s, everywhere I could find, and no where could I figure out how to cancel my account with them.

I did manage to turn off the automatic calls. And I changed the phone number to a dummy one, so that if their computer does call again, it won’t wake me up at 4am.

Oh, and how much money did I make with

Just what you would expect…$0

Anyone have a better idea?


  1. Interesting. I wonder if they’ve gotten better since then.

    • @richman17 — I don’t know if they have improved or not.

      I haven’t really heard anything about them in a long time. I do know that lots of people arrive at this post from search engines, after searching for more information about Not sure what happens after that!

  2. it works now! i am a seller on ether and just started about 2 week ago. i set my scedule and they ONLY call when i have a customer & when my scedule is set to take calls mine is set for 11am=11pm & yup at 11pm i llook online and it goes from taking calls to arrange via email. no calls at crazy times!
    it DOES have a delete my acct area too. so far ive had about 4-5 calls and made $ but they only send check at the ned of the month so i need ot wait its my 1st month. so far i made almost $200. i wonder if you made no $ b/c u rejected your calls? they call to see if u can take a call IF someone is asking for you! only 1x i had to decline due to bad timing ( i have a baby & was busy) id give it a go again.. make sure your scedule is set and take the calls!!!! it does work! im a stay at home mom making some extra $ in these bad times.. its a great service no risk, no overhead just 15% off your earnings which is not bad at all!

  3. I’m a retired psychotherapist and thought that might be a viable way of offering advice to people who asked for it.

    Anyway..I got to the part in the application process where it required me to provide my credit card information in order to “verify” that I was really at least 18 years of age, and I refused to provide them with that information, so I was never approved.

    Providing detailed credit card information, especially for “verification” purposes contributes to IDENTITY THEFT and/or FRAUDULENT charges. I offered to provide their office with a copy of my birth certificate and was informed that a b/c isn’t considered valid proof of my age! Give me a freakin’ break! (Ugh)

  4. @Bob – Sounds like you have kicked them to the Ether as well! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  5. I’m a consultant to small businesses & startups, and thought Ether might be worthwhile, so I tried enrolling. When I came to where you’re supposed to enter “Additional Details” about yourself & your services, it gave me some incomprehensible message and wouldn’t let me continue. I emailed Support, but got no reply. Since I had been using Mozilla as my browser, I decided to try again using Internet Explorer. This time, it told me my browser wasn’t compatible–that I should use Mozilla or Internet Explorer, both of which I had already tried & failed! Again, I emailed Support, and again got no response. I wonder if Ether has any staff at all–maybe AT&T put it on autopilot when it bought it! Ether is a great idea that appears to have been badly fumbled by AT&T!

    • @Bizcoach2000 – This is a pretty old post. I’m surprised they still haven’t cleaned up their act. Too bad, as it was indeed a great idea.

  6. Just an update on this old thread: Last year, I was finally able to get enrolled with, but I haven’t used it yet. By that I mean I haven’t promoted it anywhere except on their website, which is a pretty useless place to promote your services. There are too many service-providers, and potential clients don’t even know it exists. But you’re right–it’s a terrific idea. So it seems to me, Marty, that the reason an expert like you didn’t get any calls could be that you didn’t promote your number in other ways, like on your own website, your business cards, etc. That’s how can become a useful tool for consultants. Relying on the site won’t do the job.

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