Vonage has had one of the worst reputations in the customer service sector of VoIP companies for a long time, so bashing them for their poor performance in that area has become a standard operating procedure around the blogosphere and online in forums like DSL reports.
So today when I read their announcement about My.Vonage I had to laugh again. It seems Vonage has now determined the best way to satisfy and retain customers is to charge them for a device to provide their own customer care.
The other thing that was funny here is this is the kind of "news" Vonage used to always want to brief bloggers and media on in advance of the story breaking on the wire. Other than Business Week Online, I haven't seen much real insight on this, and that story showed that the reporter, the very smart and resourceful Olga Kharif of Business Week Online, needed real help from live support people and then found a way to weave this into a story she wrote about their biggest challenge. Customer Retention.
Vonage obviously has more problems than customer retention. They need to raise more cash to make up for their legal bills and now the development of this "box" that had to cost a few million to develop as Frog Design isn't cheap in the concept, design and introduce world of new products.
Is Vonage looking more and more like a telco? Yup. Call them Voice 1.5 in my book. They have a long way to go to get to 2.0.