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Summary:

Vonage, one of the VoIP’s early revolutionaries, has benefitted from the blog world. In the early days, much before they had mega-millions to burn, it was the early adopter blogger community that embraced Vonage. Today, when their system experienced a massive failure, there was little or […]

Vonage, one of the VoIP’s early revolutionaries, has benefitted from the blog world. In the early days, much before they had mega-millions to burn, it was the early adopter blogger community that embraced Vonage. Today, when their system experienced a massive failure, there was little or no information from the company. It was sporadic emails and some other updates, but there was no “real time” communications from the company. All you have to do is read my comments section, or perhaps the wonderful Vonage Forum threads and you realize that anger of Vonage’s customers. Giving them a free service for a few weeks while might cool down a few people, but will that be enough? I personally think this is a slow motion PR disaster in the making. (Has anyone else noticed the lack of coverage of this topic most everywhere – old and new new media – alike.)

Brian Oberkirch emailed and asked, “Is there an official Vonage blog?  I’m thinking of the real cost associated with a widely broadcast outage, and then thinking that they should have an outlet to talk very directly about what is going on.” He later posted on his blog:

> If you’re spending mad money educating everyone on VoIP and acquiring your customers online, why aren’t you throwing a few peanuts after it and leading via blogging? Vonage, wake up. You should own VoIP blogging. When I Google VoIP blog a week from now, you should bubble up to the top.

Oh how right he is. Vonage, which is in the consumer service business should consider a more ongoing dialog with its community. I think the intimacy most of us had with Vonage made the company special, and an early success. By blogging, they can rekindle the flame, and keep the consumers and others informed. Its not about acquiring customers – its about keeping them happy. Happy customers of today are viral salespeople of tomorrow. Blogging will be a great start for Vonage.

  1. [...] g?

    August 4th, 2005

    Om Malik agrees with us — Vonage should be blogging. Om ran a piece yesterday on the ‘massive outage&#82 [...]

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  2. Hello,
    I just read you note on Vonage and blogging. I am currently setting up a customer feedback group for my company and said to my self “wow maybe we should do this.” Do you recommend any off the self or web based software to aid in blogging, specifically forum software?

    Thanks
    Joe Canavan

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  3. FYI, Vonage is blogging. Anyone who reads DSLReports knows of a user named Dan Connor who is actually hired by Vonage for online marketing. He now runs http://www.vonage-forum.com and writes a daily newsletter — all funded by Vonage underneath.

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  4. dan connor is running a forum, which is not the same thing as a blog. blog is about having a conversation with their customers.

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  5. I’m sorry but I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I think the issue is simply poor communication. Sure, a blog can be part of the solution, but blogs are never “the answer” for a larger issue of poor communication.

    I’m not a customer, but if I were, all I’d ask for is email when they expect an outage, some sort of announcement on their website so I know what’s up, and a forum for people to ask questions and the company to respond.

    AT&T Wireless had a message board where people posted questions and support personnel responded. They didn’t always respond with full satisfaction but they were more responsive than I expected. They also had an online chat support system which I used a few times and found useful.

    Blogging isn’t “the answer” to everyone’s communications problems. It can be a part of the solution but how important it is depends on the industry they’re in, their customer base and other factors. If the customer just doesn’t care about customer service in general, throwing a blog up won’t make things any better.

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  6. Jesse Kopelman Thursday, August 4, 2005

    Do you think all their advertising dollars have something do with lack of mainstream reporting on this outage? There may be a fear that Vonage will pull their ads if a negative story is run.

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  7. I think the mainstream media still doesn’t understand VoIP. I think Vonage and others have not developed/promoted the potential applications that will help to separate it from traditional phone service.

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  8. Joe Canavan, I think there are many opensource blogging tools out there suitable for a business, my first suggestion would be WordPress (http://wordpress.org/) although it will require modifications in order to go along with a corporate image, it is one of your safest bets.

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  9. Sure, they should be blogging and reading blogs. They have major support problems. We lost over $8000 when they dropped our business line for over two months. For the full sad story, see:
    http://www.netadventures.biz/vonageproblem.htm

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  10. What is Vonage and How Does it Work?

    Vonage is a simple and inexpensive way to make telephone calls over the internet.

    How Does It Work? It’s called voice over internet protocol (“VOIP”). An analog signal (like the type used for
    traditional phone lines) is converted into a digital signal and then transmitted over the internet.

    Features: Voicemail, 3-way calling, caller ID with name, call forwarding, can transfer existing number easily.

    Costs: Vonage offers two home packages: (1) The Basic 500 ($14.99), which gives you 500 anytime minutes in the U.S.,
    Canada and Puerto Rico; and (2) The Premium Unlimited, ($24.99) which has no per-minute limits.
    For businesses, there are the Small Business Basic ($39.99), and the Small Business Unlimited ($49.99).

    Benefits: great sound quality, ease of installation, inexpensive international rates, and significant savings
    over traditional phone service providers.

    In summary, Vonage is a great way use emerging technology to slash your monthly phone expenses.

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