Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Proof VoIP Marketing Is Confusing Consumers...D'uh

I was going to share this ditty back when Russell Shaw of ZDNet.com wrote about it in December. Silly me, in the midst of Holiday revelry I forgot about it and just now found my notes again. So.....better late than never as the saying goes.

Per his usual self Russell is both wise and thought provoking in his no nonsense observations on this phenomenon. Therefore I've left it word for word for you to digest "with a little chianti". Afterall....who am I to mess with the Master. ;)

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More Proof VoIP Marketing Is Confusing Consumers
By Russell Shaw, enterprise computing journalist and author

All of this "VoIP marketing is confusing consumers. I have some just-released data to back this up.

According to VoIPAction's print of the top search terms in September's traffic on Yahoo! Search Services, The Top 10 searched-for keywords in Yahoo!'s September search traffic were:

1. VoIP 1,407,465
2. IP Telephony 558,847
3. Broadband Phone 306,048
4. Internet Phone 272,213
5. Voice Over IP 160,642
6. Internet Telephony 125,885
7. VoIP Phone 91,445
8. VoIP Solution 81,667
9. VoIP Service 80,766
10. Business VoIP 78,558

Do you see what I see? Internet phone technology doesn't go by one name the marketers can agree on. If it did, you wouldn't have the wild variety of searchers who are using related terms to look for more or less the same thing.

Other interesting facts emerge from this study.

"Skype" was the most searched-for VoIP company name in September's traffic on Yahoo! Search Services.

I'll list the top ten, and then I'll have a couple of comments.

Top Ten Yahoo! Search Services Searches By VoIP Companies

(September, 2005)

1. Skype: 197,435
2. Vonage 173,892
3. Avaya 27,439
4. Google Talk 20,220
5. Net2Phone 10,074
6. Speakeasy 8,523
7. Xo Communications 5,461
8. SunRocket 4,814
9. Packet8 4,030
10. DialPad 3,173

Four things jump out at me here:

* Although the published results do not mention if company-specific searches also included a search term (such as Vonage and VoIP), it appears from the statistical data this is the case. If this is indeed true, why are so many web searchers using a web search engine to look for specific information from specific providers - rather than simply entering ".com" after the name of the company they want and then just doing a site search? Could it be that internal site search on VoIP sites isn't up to snuff? (Hmm, I've already given myself an idea for a new post).

* Avaya, an enterprise VoIP brand, seems to have more search "juice" than some brands more readily associated with consumers.

* Interesting that so many searches for "Google Talk" were conducted over a search utility that competes with Google. So maybe web users are not as preoccupied with synergies as we bloggers and pundits are?

* Look at all the searches for Net2Phone. This is a company on people's minds- a company that as I have written, would be the perfect VoIP provider for Amazon, or maybe even as a click-to-call feature in NewsCorp.'s MySpace.

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