I think my new favorite past times is calling a company evil. Witness my MonaVie and Ijango posts of the past. I like to think I’m relatively justified when I call out a company for being evil. The evil company of the week is… Verizon.
Why are they evil? A company called 4Info allows people to create text message alerts. If you want to know when Brett Favre throws a touchdown, you can go to the website and set that up. It’s quite a handy service. Like any intelligent company, they look to make a profit. The text message alerts are free (as long as your cell phone provider doesn’t charge), but they come with a small advertisement… usually 20 characters or so. That advertising supports the company. This weekend Verizon decided that they would stop their customers from being able to access this service.
I don’t know why Verizon decided to prevent the service. Perhaps they are jealous that 4Info is making a business using Verizon’s service. That sounds pretty weird considering how popular cell phone app stores are nowadays. App stores made the iPhone what it is and bring a lot of customers to AT&T. It’s puzzling to me that Verizon would do this at the risk of losing customers. Furthermore, they may find themselves open for a lawsuit unless they let everyone out of their contracts. If I were a Verizon customer in a contract and I was looking to get out, this would be a fantastic opportunity. After all, Verizon effective took away a service from their customers.
My friend Kosmo wrote more about Verizon trying to kill 4info. It’s a good article, I highly suggest you read it.
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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
Thanks for the link, Lazy Man.
One thought I had is that perhaps Verizon realizes that a certain group of customers are using 4Info to completely replace Verizon’s pay internet service on their phone. This is definitely what I use 4Info for (albeit with a different provider). In the old days (meaning 2000) I had internet on a cell phone … but all I really used it for was sports scores. I don’t need the mobile internet – I just need to know how Troy Tulowitzki did in his last at bat.
It really seems like Verizon is trying squeeze money out of both sides of the transaction (much like the ISPs are doing with regards to net neutrality). I paid you for the opportunity to receive text messages (either explicitly or as part of the base cost of the package). Why should Verizon care if a text message comes from my wife (typically, she does not include advertisements) or 4Info? Is their processing cost for the 4Info message higher?
This seems really stupid in the long run. If Verizon will stoop to this level, what else will they do in the future? This move eroded that last bit of respect I had for the company. (Where did the rest of the respect go? Read the article that Lazy linked to and you’ll find out.)
Lazy Man says
I don’t know if I buy the paid Internet service. Surely, getting people to use more text messages is a good thing for revenue. That is, unless they have unlimited text messages and paid Internet, but it makes no sense to have one unlimited and one pay as you go. Verizon should just adjust their plans if this is the case.
kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
With two recent providers (but not my current one), I had unlimited incoming text messages included in the cost of the package. Currently, I pay $5 for up to 200 text messages a month. In all three cases, I would have considered adding internet if I didn’t have 4Info … but since I have them, there’s not much point, since 4Info gives me the majority of what I need for a fraction of the cost.
kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
I look this up for Verizon. Their lowest bundle of text messages is 250/month for $5.
Their data packages are:
Pay per use – $1.99 per MB
25 MB – $9.99
75 MB – $19.99
So, trying to push people away from 4Info and toward their data packages would be to their advantage – especially if people retained text messages for things such as school closings.
Will they lose some people who decide to drop the text messaging and NOT replace it with mobile internet? Sure. I’m not saying that their logic is correct – just trying to suggest what their motivation might be.
Jason @ One Money Design says
I’m honored to be listed with such great posts. Thanks for mentioning my post!
Evil is much too nice a word for what verizon is.