Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Low Price Game

If you want to play in the low price game, you better sharpen your pencil. While the king of selling VOIP for low price is Vonage at $24 per month and Packet8 likes to help out consumers at $199 per year ($16.58 per month), there's a new winner in town: MagicJack. At just $40 for the first year including the purchase of the USB device, it is by far the lowest priced VOIP since Skype or Net2Phone.

Having been on the receiving end of quite a few calls on MJ, it's like listening while someone wraps packages in tissue paper the entire call. Crinkle, crinkle. I doubt the MJ user notices, but then in VOIP it is not usually the VOIP user that can detect the hisses, klunks, buzzes and dropped words. It is the listener that has to repeat, Huh? What did you say? throughout the call. Annoying for sure.

MJ sells via the infomercial.

Ike Elliott has a round-up of cheap VoIP services. So if you want to sell on price because it is easier than actually selling, you better drop your pants lower.

Jon Arnold also does a round-up of the cheapos. Jon thinks that MJ "looks like a Trojan Horse strategy to me. The name of the game for magicJack is numbers - get lots and lots of subscribers. Yes, this drives subscription revenues, and maybe even a bit of international calling, but there's a Web 2.0 element to this, and you're not going to like it. .... Whether you like it or not - want it or not - magicJack is going to serve up advertisements."

And finally, Thomas Howe rings in with his view that MJ's Advertising and Product Claims are Deceptive. Howe explains the deceptions in MJ ads including the claim that Dan invented Internet Telephony. Howe then makes a statement I agree with (because MJ sounds like a dash for cash: "My second conclusion is that any company so willfully deceptive in its advertising must have serious corporate morality issues." In the comments folks threatened his children. Ah, the anonymous web.

So to summarize, if you sell too low, the intelligient will wonder how it is possible. There is such a thing as too low -- and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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