Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sprint vs Verizon, Selling On The Web

Verizon vs. Sprint

What an interesting day on Wednesday, January 24, 2006.

Two related events but with completely different directions started today.

First, we get notified from Verizon, that we have to use an "authorized logo" on our order form (we immediately complied), ALSO, they tell us, that in order to sell on the web, we will not be able to display prices directly on our web site AND we will not be able to offer customers a simple method for ordering (we offer a secure and simple way to place orders now). You know, "CALL FOR PRICE" vs. giving people a simple way to order, it doesn't make a lot a sense. We have been selling (and supporting) Verizon for the last 2 years and have added 1000's of satisified customers who are happily paying Verizon $60 - $80/month. They became OUR customers, because they were fed up with the lack of knowledge at stores, tech support or even "Verizon Reps".

I wonder if it has anything to do with how we compete with Verizon. We charge $99.99 for a Novatel V640 on a 2 year and Verizon charges $179.99. Hmm, I wonder why they don't want us to list prices on our web site? There is also intense competition between different channels at Verizon. When the Novatel V640 first came out, only the Verizon direct channel wanted to sell them, they wouldn't release any to other channels (but we found a way to get them). For those of you that stuck with us during the V640 backorder, the biggest problem was that Verizon didn't want to sell us any, even though we had hundreds on backorder.

Verizon should be very careful, not to bite the hand that feeds them.

Now, on the same day we get an email from Sprint.

According to our contract with them, no company has officially been able to sell on the web (geez, sounds almost like Verizon, but keep reading). Sprint, sends out an addendum to our contract that now officially allows selling on the web. There is one extra step we have to do, basically show the customer the Sprint service agreement before they can order (not a bad idea). Yes, we have been selling Sprint data cards for some time, but now we are allowed to sell. Good job Sprint!

Verizon and Sprint take different roads and I don't understand why Verizon seems to always be shooting themselves in the foot. First, Verizon started terminating customers who use too much of "unlimited" service - see Verizon Terminated my Service. Now, they are trying to bury their competition (although some would argue that Verizon doesn't come close to the services that EVDOinfo, EVDOforums, EVDOmaps provide).

I understand how Verizon/Sprint need to control web sites that sell and represent them, especially scammers and those that just push boxes or don't add value. BUT, they really should not put every "web site" in the same category. Not all are created equal. We pride ourselves in our support and knowledge, MUCH more than you will get at a store. What kind of experience have you had with a store, and would you send your grandmother if she needed a data card? What about us, would you recommend our services (hint, that is where most of our business comes from, satisfied customers).

We are going to continue with Verizon, BUT they are going to make it difficult to order from us online over the coming weeks (if you like ordering over the phone, this will not affect you) and it seems like they may be giving favorable treatment to other web sites. Verizon, you should move slowly and you might want to reconsider.

Can you hear me now?

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