Friday, March 03, 2006 Gives Small Business a Boost represents a new opportunity for online entrepreneurs and small business folks of all shapes and sizes (especially if you happen to be into the consulting business). The concept behind the site, which is currently in a limited beta, is nothing ground breaking in and of itself: sell your time on the phone.

I took a look around the web and there are plenty of people doing this with their own systems already. But who wants to set up an 800 number, credit card processing, and all the rest of the stuff you'll need to do it right. For a 15% cut of your earnings, Ether saves you the trouble.

Here's how it works in Ether's own words (they say it well): "Get your free Ether Phone Number. Set your rate. Set your hours. Your phone only rings when people pay to talk to you."

It seems simple, and that's the point. It's supposed to be easy. Easy to join, easy to use, and, best of all, easy to integrate into your website, blog, emails, or wherever else you'd like to advertise your services. Ether isn't going for the directory approach with this. They want to distribute their service wherever their users may need it. You put up the link on your site and your customers can click, pay, and call. That's smart business for you and Ether both.

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