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Vonage IPO and SPIT

SPIT is Spam over IP Telephony.

Yesterday I got an email from Vonage offering me a piece of their IPO because I’m a long-term customer.  I was fine with getting that mail although I don’t intend to take advantage of the offer for reasons I’ve posted here.

Today I got voicemail from Vonage offering the same thing.  I am NOT fine with getting this voicemail.  It makes me worry that Vonage will start selling the right to put voicemail in my account.  It makes me realize that VoIP CAN even more easily be used for junk calls than the legacy phone system.  I don’t want a VoIP provider which isn’t sensitive to this danger.  I don’t want to buy stock in a provider which doesn’t understand what an abuse SPIT is.

Perhaps I’m oversensitive; Mary thinks this was sort of cool.  I get my voicemail through email.  Vonage didn’t actually make my phone ring, just deposited the voice message in my voicemail box.

BTW, Vonage has extended “free” (unmetered) calling on its $24.99 US residential plan to include calls to landlines in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy and Spain.  These calls were only pennies a minute previously but Mary immediately tried to call daughter Kate in London.  She got busy circuits for four hours yesterday but did get through today.  It’s tricky to estimate demand for a new unmetered service.  Hopefully just a teething problem.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Vonage IPO and SPIT :

» They Own You When You Own Them from ClickZ News Blog
Maybe this fits into that whole "ownership culture" meme. As part of its preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock, voice-over-IP company Vonage has set aside stock for its loyal customers as "friends and family," if you... [Read More]

» Only yourself to blame from It looks obvious
The news about the potential lawsuit against Vonage isnt a surprise. Obviously there are many upset investor that lost a lot of money in the Vonage IPO fiasco . However they have no one to blame but themselves. Im a Vo... [Read More]

Comments

Anonymous

Following a law suit from Verizon last year, Vonage was found guilty of infringement with regards to Verizon patents, and is now liable to pay $58 million. The case was about the way in which Vonage connects its VoIP network to the PSTN, and also about its call forwarding and voicemail techniques.
What's worse for Vonage is that Verizon has also requested the jury that Vonage be denied the right to allow its users to connect to the PSTN. If this request is accepted, Vonage users will be able to make calls only to other Vonage users! That would drag Vonage from the best to one of the worst VoIP providers! The verdict will fall on March 23rd. Let's hope something that drastic

fdd

yes
you are right!

Tom Evslin

JJ:

I didn't blog on the google IPO (probably wasn't blogging at all then) so have no track record on that. I did recently blog that Google is currently overpriced - still think that. But i didn't buy google at its IPO so you can count that against me as a stockpicker.

I did say that I was fine about being notified by email by Vonage about their IPO since I'm a customer.

Right or wrong, I do form my own opinions. who else do you imagine forms them for me?

JJ

For the record - how would you prefer to be notified that you can participate in an IPO? Telepathy?

Also what was your opinion on the Google IPO? Probably as negative as everyone else's I assume - which no doubt saved people a lot of pain and losses...oh wait..Google soared - Thanks for nothing. If you dispute this, post a link to your blog stating otherwise, and it better say something to the tune of "Get in on the Google IPO at all costs." Becuase if you talk out of both sides of your mouth - what's your point of blogging in the first place? Not really forming your own opinions are you?

Erick K Loss

I am a systems integrator. I work with data, phone, TV and security systems everyday. I set up systems for colleges and hotels. I tried Vonage for our new office phone system. I could not get it to ring through consistently. Calls were not completed, some were dropped. For one week I had no phones at all. Customers would write e-mail or call my cell phone to ask if we were still in business. They would get messages saying that my number was disconnected or that it was not valid.

I spent over 11 hours on-line or on hold trying to get help, most of it on hold. When I called to cancel service I told them that I needed to keep the number and it would take a few days for the phone company to connect me again. They cut me off right then. I had no phone service. Qwest could not reconnect me with that number unless it was active. I had to spend 3 hours trying to get Vonage to activate the number again. Then they gave me a temporary number for 3 days, which no one knew to call, before I got my old number and same crappy service back. When I was finally connected to a land line again they gave me a $12.50 credit for my troubles.

Vonage should be put out of business. They ruined mine for almost a month. They have a cruddy product, lousy service and tech support and terrible business practices.

If you have to choose between two cans and a string and Vonage, take the cans and string. You'll be happier with the service.

David

Excellent comments. I also read the following by Joesph Weisenthal in Techdirt today.
"Before this week, there was already substantial doubt about Vonage's IPO prospects. The company's s-1 did not look promising; profitability will be distant, if it comes at all. Then, yesterday it announced that it was giving its customers a chance to buy into the IPO. Though they made it seem like they just wanted to give back to the customers who have helped them get where they are, it was seen as a real sign that there is lack of institutional interest in the company's IPO. Today, the story gets even worse, as they appear to be engaging in the first case of VoIP stock spam as a way of pushing their stock on customers. The company sent out mass voicemails (and emails) encouraging customers to participate in the stock purchase plan. Considering the legitimate fears that people have about an explosion in VoIP spam, and the inevitable comparisons to penny-stock spam scams, the move makes the company look like it's not ready for the big leagues. The action could also prompt some unwanted SEC scrutiny, which already has a beef against founder Jeffrey Citron relating to, yes, a stock scam. Furthermore, they risk alienating their customers who have more alternatives every day. Before a company goes public, it needs to convince investors that they're strong and stable; if this deal is going to go through they have a lot of explaining to do."

Jaanus

Does the voicemail really HAVE to sound so unnatural? Almost like robot-synthesized :(

natas

i think your over reacting. i wouldnt consider this spit.

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