Voicemail dating service
They became popular in the early 1980s when they were made available on PC-based boards.
Voicemail systems are designed to convey a caller's recorded audio message to a recipient.
With multiple time zones, fewer secretaries and more communication by phone, real-time phone communications were hampered by callers being unable to reach people.
Some early studies showed that only 1 in 4 phone calls resulted in a completed call and half the calls were one-way in nature (that is, they did not require a conversation).
This happened because people were either not at work (due to time zone differences, being away on business, etc.), or if they were at work, they were on the phone, away from their desks in meetings, on breaks, etc.
This bottleneck hindered the effectiveness of business activities and decreased both individual and group productivity.
Messages were scribbled on pink slips and distributed by the internal mail system and messages, often arrived at people's desks after lengthy delays, contained little content other than the caller's name and number, and were often inaccurate, with misspelled names and wrong phone numbers.
Although VMI trademarked the term, it eventually became a generic term used for referring to virtually all automated voice services employing a telephone.