More nonsense from Cable & Wireless Jamaica (C&WJ)

I have a C&WJ mobile phone and got a text saying something like I could top up from CWDIASPORA.COM. What is amazing is that I am currently in Jamaica and I cannot see what use such a message has.

So I ignored what I considered to be nothing but pure nonsensical marketing by a non-creative team of marketers and executives.

But while reading my daily news on the 10 or more websites I check for all sorts of news content, I saw what appeared to be a banner ad promoting CWDIASPORA.COM.

Now, I had already checked out the website the very first time I got the text, and was really not sure what to make of it.

The website CWDIASPORA.COM, by all indication, is targeted at the Jamaican Diaspora offering pre-paid phone cards, bmobile credits, and bill payments.

A closer examination of this website revealed what I always knew: That C&WJ, via their website CWDIASPORA.COM, obviously shows lack of depth in respect to creative genius and talent at their disposal.

Why a member of the Diaspora would go online to send texts to their C&WJ mobile phone and/or, if applicable, another person’s mobile phone, eludes me.

Checking out their online bill payment option, which gives one the impression that a host of bills can be paid online from this portal, was less than anything but a joke.

Clicking on this link directed me to the add-to-cart page. I was under the impression that the bill payment link would direct me to a web page that would have provided me with an online option of paying bills and not a shopping cart.

It turned out to be a bill payment associated with a phone via inserting the phone number -quite different from the first impression I got when I read “Pay your bills online”.

Knowing that it is a new website and service, I did not expect much with regards to traffic. So I was not surprised at the zero traffic ranking obtained when I conducted at Compete.com Website Analytics search. So it makes perfect sense to waste marketing dollars on what I consider to be a worthless product in its current form.

Of course, website owners with any substance and traffic should take advantage of this opportunity.

The Diaspora

Any tech savvy Jamaican living in the Diaspora would think twice about purchasing a pre-paid for card starting at US$5.

Why?

Quite a few locals find it cheaper to call their relatives and friends in the Diaspora versus their family or friends wasting money calling them. Thus the argument would be: “Save up that US$5 and US$20 and send it home where it will have greater reach”.

Locals can use MiPhone, Digicel, and Flow to call the Diaspora at cheaper rates than the Diaspora can to call home. Diaspora members can also maximize e-mail and chat rooms to communicate with Jamaicans back home.

What was amazing in all of this was the scaling back of Internet advertising and print of the Netspeak campaign from C&WJ, which, if it had been executed properly, would have seen a greater uptake.

Phone cards, at face value, would certainly lead to the Diaspora spending far more money to call Jamaica than if they owned their own Netspeak account or any similar service.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the purchase of two US$20 phone cards per month to call Jamaica far exceeds the cost that would be required to operate a Netspeak account, from a consumer perspective, that is. By making calls to Jamaica via Netspeak, the Diaspora would have obtained unlimited calls for a flat rate, or cheaper and greater talk time where unlimited calls were not applicable.

Of course, VoIP termination minutes is big business. And funny enough, a lot of money is earned in the global market from this. I shall only mention this, but not go further into it.

The website in question is poorly created, poorly executed, and has absolutely zero potential. It is only but a matter of time before the Diaspora catches on to Social Network websites, where communications in a Web2.0 area will be free of charge and are extremely reliable.

Web2.0

As Social Networks upgrade their platforms, members will be able to make live video calls to their friends or family from their member profile and also from their mobile phone with Internet connection. In fact, such solutions exist today and are extremely reliable.

Now some may argue that not many Jamaicans have Internet access. That may be true, but social networks such as Hi5.com has over 100,000 Jamaicans with user profiles. Facebook has over 40,000, and Myspace falls somewhere in the mix.

It would be good business for any company to land 10% of those users and their Diaspora counterpart, providing their business model is solid.

Mobile phones and PDAs are becoming more like mini computers, and the rise of Web-based application that will enhance voice and video communications, thus bypassing the Telecom networks, will render the CWDIASPORA.COM useless.

Fringing on the revenue stream available from the Jamaican Diaspora with low quality products and services will soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, without strong governmental monitoring, and the promotion of full deregulation within the Telecommunications market in Jamaica, consumers may not be able to maximize on better products and services from other Telecommunications companies and/or web based applications.

With 100% deregulation, Net-Neutrality, if enforced, will not hinder the mass adoption of advancements in Web-based technologies developed to save the consumer money and enhance their experience on the Internet, without infringing on the carrier’s platform that provides Internet service.

All this means is that the consumer is not exploiting the carrier’s network with the use of third party applications outside of the normal Terms of use policy.

Say Hello to My Little Friend

A perfect example of web based applications empowering the consumer is JaJah.com, a web-based phone company with service available in 200 countries and over 10 million users worldwide. It is considered a real rival to Skype.

Jamaicans in the US can call anyone within the JaJah’s Group A list from cell phone to cell phone, and/or land line for free once both parties sign up to JaJah.com.

Callers also can save up to 98% on international calls. Jamaica is not in JaJah’s Group A list. If it were, the benefits associated with the Group A list would apply.

Readers who click on the Chat Icon of “The Kingston Chronicle” will see a launch VoiP link. This will direct the reader to the JaJah.com phone service. The Kingston Chronicle JaJah account was set up in 2006, if not earlier.

Your browser may not support display of this image.

JaJah.com has added several new products and services since the time I was introduced to it. Credit is due to a Swedish national for reminding me about JaJah.com. If not, I may have not taken a closer look at it.

JAJAH.Direct

Get a local number for each of your contacts and call them directly. Save the numbers to your phone and never dial long distance again!

Watch the animated video in the lower right hand side of the screen. Click here

JAJAH.Web

From the web, you can initiate a call with no headset, no download, no software installation required. Use any phone, start saving now!

Watch the animated video. Click here

JAJAH.Mobile Web

From your web-enabled mobile you can point your browser to http://mobile.jajah.com Keep in touch and save money on the go!

JAJAH.Buttons

Connect your online community with customized JAJAH.Buttons – your community can click and call you in seconds.

A company is only as good as the quality of its products, services and, most important, customer service.

Of course, this boils down to the ability of the current staff and executives at that company’s disposal.

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