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A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

CES: How to (Not) Lose Friends & Alienate People


Senior consumer reporter and “Deal of Day” columnist Kelli B. Grant travels to Las Vegas to find the best, the worst, and the most hyped gadgets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Join her as she roams the exhibit floor for three days, with dispatches here and on Twitter @kellibgrant.

An informal voicemail greeting like “you know who this is, and you know what to do at the beep” might work for friends, but it’s not exactly one you’d want the boss to hear.

Enter ON voicefeed, a free iPhone and Android app that lets users customize greetings to specific groups or individuals in their contact list. The app also transcribes voicemails and has an instant messaging feature. Users can also see what a caller has been up to, with incorporated Facebook and Twitter data.

“I’m really excited about this technology,” says Todd Day, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. He expects the carriers themselves to introduce similar features in the coming year.

But a truly customized phonebook will cost you. The free version of the app offers up to three customizations; for $10 a year, users get unlimited options. It faces competition from the likes of YouMail, which customizes voice mails for Blackberry, as well as iPhone and Android, and has text-to-speech plans that start at a pricier $3.99 a month.


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.