Jun 222007

What An Ugly Way to Use Email

What An Ugly Way to Use Email

From our friend Andy Sernovitz comes this tale of horror about how Vonage is using viral email.  Talk about creating NEGATIVE word of mouth.  Yikes!  This qualifies Vonage for my customer service Hall of Shame with Verizon, United Airlines, WebEx, and FedEx/Kinko’s.

Thanks to my colleague Margaret Farmakis for the inspired headline.

Nov 172006

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part II

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part II

Two years ago, when we got Vonage at home, I blogged raves about the service, which I continue to believe today (although I do hear mixed reviews of it from time to time, depending on the user-in-question’s internet connection).  And I blogged about Skype when I started using that last year.  The theme of both posts was a big “uh oh” to phone companies everywhere.

So let me add another note on this theme.  I spent some time yesterday at the offices of Skype, now a client of ours.  From the minute I walked in the door, something seemed odd about the office.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, there just seemed to be something missing.  Then it occurred to me — no phones.  Literally, I couldn’t see a single one.  The receptionist did have one for incoming calls and routing, and she said she thought there were one or two other ones in the entire office.  Everyone is happily on Skype.  Skype In, Skype Out, video Skype, plain old Skype.  It was a beautiful thing — not to mention extremely cost-effective.

Now I can’t wait for the team at Skype to figure out how make a true Skype mobile phone to marry VOIP with high-speed wireless.  Then I can be released from exorbitant cell phone charges.

To Ma Bell…and all of your offspring who specialize in overcharging customers and then providing them with horrendous customer service…you’re really on the path to being marginalized.  And good riddance, I say.

Filed under: Current Affairs, Email

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Nov 092006

Get a Phone!

Get a Phone!

An emerging pet peeve of mine (which I’m feeling acutely at this precise moment) is people who do job interviews on a cell phone.  I understand that lots of people today, especially younger people, don’t have land lines, only cell phones.  They’re welcome to do that, although why someone wouldn’t get Vonage for $15/month, I’m not sure.

The reality is that cell phones in this country still get poor reception half of the time.  How can you conduct a job interview and expect to be taken seriously if the person interviewing you can’t hear you and has to keep asking you to repeat yourself?  It’s as if you showed up for a job interview wearing a suit jacket with a bathing suit.  You’d just never do it.  Find a real phone somewhere that you can borrow.  Get Vonage.  Make sure you show up in person.  Something other than a cell phone, please.

Filed under: Leadership

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Jan 172005

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part III

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part III

My original posting singing the praises of VOIP and Vonage in particular (for those of you who haven’t tried Voice-Over-IP, it’s still working great and unbeliebaly cheaper than traditional phone service) was met with a criticism by my colleague Tom Bartel, who said Vonage in particular didn’t allow him to keep his particular phone number.  This is something that varies carrier by carrier, area code by area code.

So Tom tried an alternative service in Colorado called Lingo.  So far, he seems to be having the same positive experience that we are in NYC.

Filed under: Email

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Nov 102004

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part II

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part II

Great news for fans of Vonage and other Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services.  Today, the  The Wall Street Journal (that link may only work for a week or so) reported that FCC Chairman Michael Powell just drove a successful vote to declare VOIP an interstate service, exempt from state regulation and really paving the way for much smoother and broader adoption.

I’ve received a number of comments on my earlier posting which sang the praises of Vonage and VOIP, and apparently not everyone has had the same positive experience as we’ve had with the service.  But it’s still going strong for us!

Oct 302004

For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I don’t understand why everyone in the world hasn’t yet signed up for VOIP services from companies like Vonage. We just did it a couple of weeks ago at home. In terms of quality, it’s virually indistinguidhable from a POTS land line. You can have as many numbers as you want on the same account. TiVo works with it. You can keep your old phone number. There are no minimums and no contracts. They don’t have to come to your house to get it to work. They’ve even figured out how to get 911 and 311 to work with it.

It’s got tons of other cool features, as well, but even if all you do with it is use it like your old phone or fax line, all it costs is $15/month with a $40 startup cost for 500 minutes/month (they also have $25/month for unlimited calling). I hate to sound like an ad for the thing, but it’s just a better way of having a phone at home. The only real risk is an outage with your cable modem, and while that does happen from time to time, most people now have cell phones as a backup, and if your modem is out, calls go straight into voicemail.

We’ve had one or two phone lines at home forever and bounced around over the years from Verizon to Sprint to AT&T depending on who had the best deal of the month. No matter which carrier we’ve used, we don’t use our home phone that much, and we’ve always paid between $50-100/month per line for the privilige. No longer!

Anyway, I don’t know much about Vonage, and they may have tons of competitors. From a business perspective, then, I don’t know who is going to win this war…but as my board member Greg Sands says, I certainly know who’s going to lose it. I wouldn’t want to be a big old phone company today!

Filed under: Email

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