What do you do with 250 million in new money? Go out and spam someone.
Now before I go off half cocked, the last time I pointed this out to Vonage PR VP, Brooke Schulz, she blamed it on the third party marketing company they had working for them. While I know that's likely true, one would think that Vonage after being caught once, would take better control of their brand.
But no. Today, in my wine email account, that I don't use for VoIP matters, I received an offer from Vonage. Now to add insult to injury, I still have a Vonage account so not only is it a SPAM, it's an email to someone who is already on their account list.
In database marketing, your supposed to do what's called a merge and purge. This was something Schulz and I also spoke about the last time Vonage spammed me.
But with 250 million in the bank on top of what was already there, maybe they can afford the waste. I mean, every wasted effort only drives up, not down the cost of acquisition. The effort also blows large holes in the idea that some potential investors may have about them being smart marketers.
For Vonage, with all the money they've raised, it's really the law of Large Numbers. In this case, spending money via third party mailers who use non-opt in lists to spam.
I wonder what the FTC (Federal Trade Commision) thinks about this? More importantly, I wonder what would happen to their online marketing by email efforts if I reported Vonage to SpamCop...nah, I'm not that evil--but someone else may be.
This report from Taipei makes reference to the overwhelming demand from manufacturers that Skype is facing. Some cite slowdowns in receiving licenses since eBay took over Skype. That's part of growing pains.
It can also be a sales strategy, called SRO (standing room only.) That's where you create the allusion of so much demand and interest that you can extract the price and terms you want.
Knowing the way the Skype folks think, and something about what is going on with them, I'd say it's a little of both.
Over the weekend the new PR team at Skype in Silicon Valley provided me information they had been supplied by the Skype staff about their new deal with a Linux provider. In the body of the note was their copy which I was supplied under embargo until 8 PM Sunday night, something I honored.
The information provided was factually wrong related to a false claim. Now the PR agency is apologizing and trying to get Skype to correct the matter. This morning Skype's VP of Marketing in London, Saul Klein told me he knew nothing about it and promised to look into it.
Here's the rub. It's almost four days after the release was forwarded. 24 hours since people in the Linux world pointed out the error. 12 hours since I called the agency and no one wants to take the blame.
Well to you my readers, I will.
I took something from a trusted, professional with a track record as fact. I pride myself on being right, even when I'm providing insight and opinion. I also do let the facts get in the way of a good story, unlike some others in the profession who will leave out what they know is correct if it fouls up their story line. In my book it's called credibility and respectability. More so it upholds the issue of integrity, something I hold dear and near to my work ethics.
By making a mistake, and not admitting it, i would be sacrificing that same integrity with you. And that's something I can't live with, so I admit I made a mistake and by pointing out my error have a clear conscience.
I apologize and while I don't think it will be my last mistake on Earth, I do think owning up to one's mistakes takes a person farther, than trying to find a way to spin out of the issue. In this case it's a minor matter. It's only a blog post for me. For Skype, it's only a partner announcement. Here's to hoping Skype and their agency learn from this. I sure have.
He's missing though the enemy (AOL) of my enemy (YAHOO) is my friend, which applies to both Google and AOL. So, while I guess you can toss in Microsoft in that enemy model, MSFT would have been a good partner for AOL, and who's saying Time Warner is done dealing!
There are also some very interesting end to end marketing plays here and AOL has in the past been able to do some very innovative marketing deals that have crossed the chasm of the virtual and physical. With the Google directory search and datamining underneath and the AOL sales force, plus already known audience base, the direct marketing implications and 411 capabilities alone are staggaring.
With the phone companies charging .35 cents per 411 call, Google/AOL can charge nothing or a penny, and slam the phone companies in a space they had owned for years.