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Summary:

The Web 2.0 conference hasn’t even begun, and you can feel the fatigue. You can almost predict the marketing “spin” coming over next few days, that is enough to make you groan. A perfect example is this news from Level 3 Communications, touting the fact that […]

The Web 2.0 conference hasn’t even begun, and you can feel the fatigue. You can almost predict the marketing “spin” coming over next few days, that is enough to make you groan.

A perfect example is this news from Level 3 Communications, touting the fact that they had won the contract to provide bandwidth to fast growing photo-video hosting service Photobucket. This is not the first, and I am betting the last news release from Colorado-based backbone provider trumpeting their deal with some “Web 2.0″ company. They had made similar announcements when they did deals with YouTube and MySpace.

It is all spin and a blatant attempt to get a little Web 2.0 pixie dust. In fact, Level 3 is spending liberally to get it. They are sponsoring the Web 2.0 conference, and paying top dollars for it. I wonder why they are not one of sponsors (or even an exhibitors at) ISPCon, a conference that is closer to their core business.


Hate to break it to you guys, but you paint a pony with black stripes, it doesn’t become a zebra. You are a bandwidth provider, and might become a content delivery network, but you will still remain in the background, and a plumbing company. Not that there is anything wrong with it.

Getting associated with Web 2.0 might give a temporary sizzle to the stock, but in the long run that is not why anyone would care about Level 3. Clean balance sheet, profits and solid business fundamentals would be the best way to do that. If Level 3 CEO Jim Crowe or anyone else in his executive team wants to talk about that, have your people get in touch. Thanks but no thanks for Web 2.0 spin.

  1. Om , seems the 6% POP today got you a little ”spun up”over missing the train leaving the station…
    put some lipstick on a PIG and what ya got????? Better Lookin’ Bacon!@!!!
    skibare

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  2. 99% of the time I agree with you Om, but not this time. Other than some friends that work at Level 3 and the Colorado connection, I have no real ties to the company.

    That said, I would argue that many people have no clue about what Level 3 does, but as they get some press around deals w/ MySpace, or YT, or Photobucket it ups their brand. In Colorado, there are lots of talented engineers and lots of cool companies (seems like demand is higher than supply right now)… if you can rise to the top you have a better chance of getting the best talent. And that is just one reason why this is good for Level 3.

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  3. I applaud Level 3 for not taking fraudulent BK route like XO, Global Crossing and many others but putting lipstick on this pig ( carrying $7B in debt and still with questionable business model ) is ridiculous with stunts like sponsoring Web 2.0 conference. The Level 3 executive management obviously prefers to spins and buy revenue streams ( other companies ) rather than trying hard to earn it the old fashion way.

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  4. So let’s see, Level 3 announced contracts with Photobucket, YouTube, and MySpace, three of the most highly trafficed sites on the web. And Level 3 makes money how … oh, that’s right by providing bandwidth.

    and as you said…

    “Getting associated with Web 2.0 might give a temporary sizzle to the stock, but in the long run that is not why anyone would care about Level 3. Clean balance sheet, profits and solid business fundamentals would be the best way to do that.”

    So my question is how do you get a clean balance sheet, profits, and solid business fundamentals if you’re Level 3? My guess is that signing deals with 3 titans of the internet space is a good step in the right direction. And those companies happen to be in the Web 2.0 category, just like your site. If you’re calling Level 3 out on chasing Web 2.0 pixie dust, then might I suggest a look in the mirror. At least they are enabling Web 2.0 in a big way instead of merely talking about it.

    You see, not everyone wants to sell tickets to a widget conference as part of their business model.

    The real question is why you have a bone to pick with Level 3. Now that would an interesting post.

    cheers,
    :)

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  5. Level 3 is taking Web 2.0 serious: They are also hosting VideoTube ( http://www.videotube.us etc. ) largest European video portal.

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  6. I wonder what the margins are on these marque deals. I can’t imagine they are very good or do much to fix the debt situation long term.

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  7. I really do not understand what this post is all about.

    If carriers like Verizon were not close to the internet traffic npatterns, we would still be using dialup.

    If people like L3 were not aligned with internet traffic we would still have to wait for them to lay down fibers for WEB2.0 to exist.

    I believe that you would be better off by apologizing for this post. It would really show how good you are.

    If you do not apologize you actually would show that Level3 understand the big picture [both pipes and traffic patterns] and you don’t.

    Please review your position on this !!!

    Thanks

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  8. Hi Om… did you ask Level 3 what they saw in the Web 2.0 sponsorship? I’m curious what they have to say.

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  9. Another possibility is that by associating themselves with Web 2.0, other Web 2.0 companies will consider them first when looking for a bandwidth provider. So perhaps all this marketing is a way to generate new customers. Isn’t that normally what marketing is for?

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  10. Is it not more likely that L3 have the insight to realise that many of the new Web 2.0 offerings are way more bandwidth intensive than those from the previous 10 years of Internet development and therefore their network is better equipped to cope than most others.

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