A new FON package deal announced today by Martin Varsavsky echoes a similar one made 3 days ago. Martin is the President of FON and blogs in several languages. Check out his Spanish and English blogs regularly, as he does not translate every entry into each language:
“For a year now I have been using OpenBC, my favorite business network. I just found out that OpenBC is now officially Xing.
In order to show our appreciation and join Xing’s launch, we decided to give the Foneras … for free to new premium members of Xing…” -Martin Varsavsky
Xing is sort of a “Friendster” for businesspeople who are looking for others with services or other resources which they need, and who wish to make their services and resources available to others. This kind of profiling may one day replace Yellow Pages and endless phone calls for quotes and clarifications. Martin hopes that these established businesspeople will carry their routers with them on business trips and show them off while they share them.
Just three days ago we were thrilled to recieve news of FON’s package deal of an SMC WiFi handset (made by Accton) with a La Fonera router (shipped separately) for less than the cost of nearly identical handsets under a different brand!
These offers are not as suprising as FON’s past offers of half-price and even free routers, but they do suggest an encouraging sea change is taking place in FON’s efforts to target a profitable demographic. The past offers required essentially no verifiable qualifications in order to recieve a router, beyond a mailing address and PayPal account. With these new offers, we see a new effort to see that routers are being sent to people who may be more likely to use them for serious purposes, and operate them in range of others who can benefeit from the hotspot.
An Xing Premium registrant is likely committed to building and using new tools for business “networking”. In their hands, a La Fonera is more than a toy. Imagine finding a FON hotspot in your hotel, with a welcome message which says it’s owner is in room# __ nearby and is seeking/offering ___ business opportunities. A quick peek at Xing, and a short walk down the hall, and a new business partnership may be forged!
While questions about the SMC handset’s limitations have not yet been answered in fon’s blog, it promises to be flexible in that it works at FON hotspots worldwide. This adds value to it, and by introducing people to the FON Network, benefeits Skype and FON who will have more opportunities to provide their services.
In conclusion, blanketing the world with randomly-placed routers may not have paid off in building a live network. By making value-added package deals with products favored by a complimentary demographic, FON may see more routers in the hands of those who will use and endorse them.