Automatic call-everyone-on-your-list phone services have been used by coaches and teachers for years. But the first system providing groups of busy parents practical social network communication via phone, email, and web was recently introduced by startup The Zelephone Company. The company, whose slogan is “friends don’t let friends use phone trees,” has introduced a service for groups of busy parents who want to ensure everyone can be contacted via phone and email at a moment’s notice (such as when schedules change). Groups have a private web page for sharing private documents (such as team rosters). Group members can contact everyone with one phone call, and get voice replies back (to coordinate carpooling, for example).  “Carpooling to games is important with these gas prices, so being able to make one call on Saturday morning that lets every parent on our team know if I have, or need, an extra carpool seat is a benefit to everyone,” said Lori Cunningham, a Cheney, Washington mother of two youth sports participants whose team recently signed up for the service, who also plans to use the new service with her PTO group.  Groups get 35 free calls when they signup. Additional calls can be added for as little as 7 cents per call ($21 for 300 calls), or in increments as small as $5. Some groups ask a sponsor to pay for ongoing service (the sponsor gets a 2-3 second “provided by” acknowledgment after each outgoing message).

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