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I have no idea what we were thinking.

The name of the business is, after all, Basement Ventures. What did we really expect? But the offer of free telephone conferencing for up to 250 callers with no scheduling required was too good to resist. And, as a bonus, Basement Ventures’ free service claims to offer free recording of your conference call. You hit 5* during the call and, in theory at least, the system records your call and serves up an MP3 suitable for podcasting.

Great deal.

Except that it doesn’t.

Monday, June 30, 11:15 a.m.– Got three staff members together on the free conference call. Call quality is marginal. Voices sound highly compressed and there’s a steady rise and fall of background static. Still, it’s free. Staff records a spirited conversation to be used as a podcast.

11:30 a.m. — End the recorded conference call. Note that system says an MP3 will be posted to the account within 90 minutes. The waiting begins.

1 p.m. — Log in and check the account. A message on the Basement Ventures portal says “At present there are no recordings available for this account.”

2 p.m. — Check again. Same result. No MP3.

3 p.m. — Still finding no MP3. Use the online support form to request assistance. Fill out date, time, number, account info, types of telephones used. Hit send. Basement Ventures says support will answer within 24 hours.

Tuesday, July 1, 2 p.m. — Still no recording available on the Basement Ventures site. Have not received a response to the support request.

3 p.m. — Send e-mail requesting assistance or explanation to the address listed on the original account confirmation e-mail. Wait some more.

Present — Still no recording available. Still no communication from Basement Ventures. Still no general improvement in the overall quality of things you get for free. What were we thinking?