It seems all anyone's talking about in terms of online policy these days is Facebook's privacy kerfluffle. Which is kind of a big deal, but small potatoes, really, when compared to the really big, burning, important issue of the day: net neutrality.
This critical issue may not be at the forefront of news, opinion columns and debate in the media, but the fact that digital marketers and e-commerce providers are ignoring it is as baffling as it is inexcusable. The major broadband providers: Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner want to tax content providers. They want to determine what sites their subscribers can access, and how quickly - giving priority, of course, to their own products and services.
American iPhone users have been quietly biding their time until Apple ends its exclusive contract with AT&T, hoping for better service, cheaper phones and lower monthly bills. But if the iPhone situation across the pond serves any example, those things aren't likely to happen any time soon.
Starting January 14, Vodafone is set to start selling iPhones in the U.K. But the company's cheapest deal will end up being more expensive over the lifetime of the device
than anything currently offered to iPhone users. That's bad news for consumers who expected a little competition would make the iPhone more accessible to users.
Verizon hit upon an ingenious marketing tactic when it started publicizing the new Droid handset. The company had been sitting idly by while AT&T made headlines — and millions — selling iPhones the past two years. But after doing a bit of research, they noticed that AT&T's 3G coverage wasn't as thorough as the company claimed.
Now that they have a Google smartphone in their catalog of phones, Verizon decided to go after AT&T's network quality, with comparative maps of their coverage. AT&T took none too kindly to the effort, and quickly responded with a lawsuit.
This week, AT&T dropped its case against Verizon. It appears that Verizon has won this round of the cellphone wars. But when it does get its hand on the iPhone, there's no guarantee that Verizon will have any more success delivering coverage than AT&T.
AT&T's exclusive contract with the iPhone should be up in the next few months. And when Verizon starts selling the iPhone, the data demands of the product could easily sink their network performance to below AT&T levels.
But Verizon is betting that its network can take the street. The company thinks that network quality is going to be the most important — if not the only thing — that matters for cellphone providers pretty soon. If phone manufacturers keep producing products and marketing them directly to the public, that future could get here pretty soon. If Verizon can deliver on its promise, the company may have hit upon a winning strategy for the long haul.
Telecom giant AT&T may be more than happy to partner with Apple, who makes fun of its top competitor daily with the now infamous Mac vs. PC ads, but the company is a little thin skinned when it comes to getting mentioned in its competitor's ads.
Today AT&T sued Verizon over the company's "There's a map for that" Droid ads. AT&T is asking for unspecified damages and a temporary restraining order to keep Verizon from running the ads, which say that AT&T customers are "out of touch" in places that do not have 3G capabilities.
Unfortunately for AT&T, the allegations aren't off base.
In the war against the Jesus phone, Motorola has a new contender. The cellphone provider has manufactured the latest Google phone, set to hit Verizon stores next week. Droid ads take on AT&T's iPhone directly, explaining functionality the iPhone does not have and what Droid does right, making it look like Verizon's trying to make a big play for the iPhone's business.
But Droid doesn't have to knock the iPhone off its popularity pedestal to pay off for Verizon, Motorola or Google. It just has to do better than the rest of the competition.
Like many ISPs, Comcast is rolling out a new DNS redirect strategy, euphemistically called a "domain helper."
Usually misspelled URLs send web surfers to error pages, but DNS redirection takes advantage of those mistakes, redirecting viewers to ad covered portals when they mistype or get a URL wrong. It's a passive advertising strategy that has garnered a wide amount of critics but continues to grow in popularity with ISPs searching around for revenue streams.
Comcast is positioning its decision to show more ads and slow down web surfing as an additional "service" available to customers. Let's take a look at Comcast's opt-out policy to see how helpful this plan will actually be for consumers.
A major inhibitor to video revenues online so far has been audience size. Despite advances in the quality, quantity and length of videos on the web, most people aren't watching them. To date, 99% of all video viewing is still happening in front of television sets.
But online video network blip.tv is looking to get bring its content where the audiences are. Today the
company announced a partnership with YouTube, Tivo, Verizon and Vimeo
among others to get more of its content around the web and to
The company has long been working to distribute its content across as many platforms as possible. And today's announcement marks a big jump in the size of the company's footprint. That strategy is the key to the success of blip — and the online video marketplace.
Amazon is expanding its e-commerce empire. Although the online retailer has been selling mobile phones for years, it has launched AmazonWireless to serve the market in a more finely-tailored fashion.
AmazonWireless, which is in beta, is essentially the online retail equivalent of a 'microsite' and is quite simply designed to provide a one-stop shopping experience for US consumers looking for a new cell phone or service plan.
Face it, no one likes their phone company. But a new study shows progress toward closing the gap between "my phone company" and "my arrrgggghhh phone company." That gap is closing online, and Verizon is winning.
Go figure. A recent J.D. Power survey shows that only 27% of smartphone users are satisfied with their phone service. But in this area of great opportunity the effectiveness of online customer service solutions is playing a bigger role in customer satisfaction, retention and growth.