it.gen.nz

Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bubble popped!

And Telecom’s new service branded jointly with Yahoo certainly seems to have. Telecom has got right up people’s noses with its implementation of Bubble. There’s at least three different problems going on here.

1. Telecom’s implementation hasn’t gone well. People are reporting lots of new spam, lost email, lost connectivity. This sort of thing is always a risk with IT implementations, but this one does seem to have been fairly bad.

2. Communications have not been good. Lots of people are complaining that they had no warning. Given that this affects a lot of people, it’s really not good enough. And coupled with the poor implementation, it has annoyed lots of people.

3. This is a change to the way Internet email works – unilateral and commercially-driven. Webmail has been withdrawn and people have been told they have to download software to use it in future. No idea if the software works on Macs or Linuxes. And people are saying that it puts advertising onto their computers. Yuk.

I’m left guessing what the point of this so-called upgrade is. A piece of ‘for download’ software is not what people want from Webmail. They want vanilla Internet email delivered through a web interface that works anywhere.

I know Telecom has to position itself to deal with the competition now Vodafone and others are starting to seriously compete, folloing the local loop unbundling. That’s good. But this is the wrong way, surely? Irritating your vast customer base doesn’t seem the best way of keeping them. And lots of the are irritated alright judging by the comments on the Herald article linked above.

So, if you are an Xtra customer, and you don’t like this, what to do? Basically, go somewhere else which offers plain and simple email and webmail. There are plenty of offers around at the moment. And if you want to future proof yourself so next time you change you won’t have to change your email address (you will this time unless you keep paying Xtra a few bucks a month to forward it), you should either use Gmail or get a domain of your own. Then you can take it with you next time you change. And one last tip – getting a name costs anything from $30 a year to $200 – check what your new ISP is going to charge.

posted by colin at 5:04 pm  

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