So, the other day when I got on the train, there was the business section of the New York Times sitting on the seat.
The front page story? How Vonage went public with a very nicely high-priced IPO @ 17$/share.
The problem is that after only a couple days, the price plummeted 13% on its first day, and after only a couple of days, dipped below $12/share. Explanations for this include poor management of the shares (poor selection for customers who bought the initial offering of shares), customers who never intended to keep the shares (they hoped the price would rise, and they'd sell them off for a quick profit), and uneasiness among shareholders due to Vonage's competition and this whole net neutrality issue.
Now, this all got me thinking... You see, I worked on Vonage's banners which were used to market their IPO and the whole going public event at the New York Stock Exchange, so I feel a little attachment to them. Also, they're, to me, pioneers in the VoIP market and they're from my home state of New Jersey. My roommate is even a customer of theirs and uses them for his fax line for his business.
So what can save vonage?
their main problem seems to be that their primary competitors are the same people who provide the service that Vonage runs over. The cable/DSL companies. Why pay for vonage when you can get the exact same service, with less equipment (combined modem/router/phonejack), on one bill, for the same amount of $?
Vonage needs to come up with new services to offer. They need to leverage their technology and innovate (I hate that buzzword).
Personally, I think vonage could have alternative services. Services that don't require hardware leases. Services similar to skype. An all-software VoIP solution. maybe Vonage could supply a headset with the price of the service?
How about fax-over-email or web-based faxing? Vonage could save $ and increase their customer base by providing fax services without needing to supply extra hardware. They could also have a pay as you go service for sending faxes though the web.
Speaking of faxing, what about a vonage-branded fax machine with an ethernet hook up?
Although faxing is going the way of the dinosaurs, it's not dead yet, and many business depend on that old technology, still. Sometimes, it's the only way to send documents; especially contracts.
Unless vonage wakes up (and wakes up soon), they'll get destroyed by the competition who can offer more reliable service (since it's their own lines; although I'm not saying that verizon offers good DSL service by any stretch of the imagination), and, right now, seems to have the capability to limit the quality and access to vonage's service.
VoIP is the future of real-time communication.
that's just my rant.
*gets off soapbox*