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WSJ censoring Vonage’s Ads?

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When we looked at the back page of Friday’s Marketplace section of the Wall Street Journal, it looked like the delivery person had perhaps taken offense with the Vonage ad campaign about its patent case with Verizon, with what looked like some black-pen editing, the kind you might see in edited government documents:

A closer look showed that indeed, some text had been blacked out, but why?


A helpful Vonage rep sent us over an image of the ad (excerpt below) as it ran in Friday’s New York Times and other papers, with no editing — and the line that asked “Now, Verizon has chosen to attack Vonage in the courts. Why? Could it be all about the money?” clearly visible and unaltered.

Curiously, there is no mention of the editing in the WSJ’s own law blog, which had a post about the campaign today.

According to Brooke Schulz, Vonage vice president for corporate communications, the Wall Street Journal’s advertising department told Vonage that it would not accept the ad in its original format, forcing the company to black out the aforementioned line if it wanted to spend its money on the Journal’s pages.

(we are currently waiting for replies from Verizon representatives and WSJ ad representatives.)

13 Responses to “WSJ censoring Vonage’s Ads?”

  1. yes betsy, you can’t succeed on marketing alone, you also need a mediocre product to lavish your marketing wizardry on.

    vonage is the AOL of VOIP. like AOL, it’s over priced, needlessly proprietary, and marketed towards people who don’t know any better.

    like AOL, it’s their marketing blitzes that put them on top in the VOIP market. it makes sense that they would use ads as weapons against verizon.

    it sucks that vonage is getting patent trolled by verizon and it reflects many of the problems with the patent system and the telecommunications industry.

    vonage vs verizon really is a david and goliath struggle, but vonage does a few “evil corporation” things that all corporations do. they copy ideas from their competitors and deny access to their networks to lock out competition just like verizon does.

  2. Betsy

    First off, I didn’t know Verizon invented VoIP, in fact, they didn’t. secondly, I don’t see them going after other VoIP player. and chris, you don’t become the top dog by being marketing wizards alone

  3. it’s called the streisand effect. someone does something that you don’t like. you make a stink about it in an effort to stop it. the stink you raise attracts more attention to the wrong doing, than the wrong doing itself would have done.

    barbara streisand sued someone over aerial photos of her house and the photos ended up everywhere as a result.

    i’ll bet money that vonage submitted the ad, was told to remove the offending sentence, and did so, willingly, knowing full well that this would be the result.

    vonage isn’t the best VOIP service out there. it’s not the cheapest and certainly isn’t the most reliable. hell, you can’t get a local phone number in a number of markets. they are marketing wizards, that’s why they were the top dogs.

  4. It is pretty bush league, but Vonage is the one who chose to black pen edit the ad, not the Wall Street Journal (at least thats what I got from the article)

    Thats actually pretty good by Vonage, as they had to know that by doing that instead of revising the ad, they would get more publicity.

    Of course its all about the money, does anyone think its about anything else?

  5. Paul Kapustka

    No updates yet. WSJ ad rep did respond (said they weren’t the people responsible for print ads but would do their best to get us in touch with the right people Monday; so perhaps more then).

  6. Victor Blake

    Patent reform is long overdue. Fujitsu and Nortel have both claimed that they invented Ethernet in the past as well … yeah!! OK … Write your congressional rep. about patent reform …

  7. Michael

    This is an AD, not an article. Surely the WSJ has the right to choose what kind of advertising it will allow, just like GigaOM does. Personally I wouldn’t be happy with a war between two companies being brought into my companies advertisements.

    Also, competition is definitely good, but if you guys have any basic understanding of economics, surely you know the purpose of patents right?…

  8. This is pretty sad, it seems that Verizon is only about the money. Why wait so long to file the Patent Suits. Vonage has been in operation for a while now. We relocated to Cleveland, Ohio due to the fact that Time Warner Cable did not have phone service yet, so we had to go with giant AT&T. They suck and their expensive even for a basic line with no features. I never tried Vontage before, so we switched to Vonage. It works great and their prices are great, because you get features and they are cheap. We got our equipment on time, it was easy to install, and we are happy customers in Cleveland, Ohio. GROW UP WSJ AND VERIZON, CENSORSHIP IS SO PRO-BUSH!

  9. My eye brow is raised for Vonage – do they get a discount or refund for the advertisement placement from WSJ. It clearly was edited on behalf of Verizon, and I agree heavily with the first 2 commenters, WSJ did some dirty work here. Lower than low.

  10. Bush league on WSJ’s part. Even if Verizon did call to day “hey, can you do me a favor?” the execution is terrible. Drawing a line through the copy? Can’t believe this got fully vetted at the WSJ and I would think you’ll hear them issue a mea culpa – of sorts – soon.

  11. Pro-VOIP

    The Wall St Urinal…I’m surprised it’s headquartered in NY vs. China. This is digusting.

    The puppet master Verizon must have yanked on the WSJ’s strings. I’m sure Verizon spends millions with it and probably threatened pulling it all. Simply this confirms the anti-competitive and manipulative nature of this monopoly. Verizon makes me sick and the WSJ bending to its pressure is disgusting. Possibly it doesn’t want to be involved in the battle, but it’s clear it doesn’t want the truth getting to public at Verizon’s wish.