I could have guessed this was coming on September 8th, when Fon’s English board moderator, David Garcia started using this graphic in his signature line.
It seems that Fon Wireless, LTD., who forgot to observe their own second birthday, is celebrating the induction of their One Millionth Fonero, Wilkinson-Chan of Japan.
Today, Fon CEO Martin Varsavsky’s blog, and Fon’s own English blog announced that Fon now has one million “Foneros”, “members” or “community members”, depending on whether you read the title or the text of the posts.
So why am I a skeptic? It’s those numbers. They just don’t add up the way they ought to. Let’s review Fon Math again, and take note of authoritative sources of Fon definitions.
One Million Foneros. One Million Members. OK, all Foneros are members, and all members are Foneros, this is true. “Community Members” is perhaps a broader term; it could include forum posters who have not registered as an Alien nor Fonero, and this inclusion raises my eyebrows.
The first step to joining Fon is to register your email address and choose a password. This can be done at a Fon hotspot, or on Fon’s home page. This makes you an Alien, who can pay for wifi access, or use your registered identity to order Fon merchandise.
Martin Varsavsky says that once an Alien registers and contributes a Fon hotspot, he becomes a Linus or Bill Fonero, who can roam for free on other Fonero’s hotspots worldwide. (Also, he says that we must buy his La Fonera router to provide that hotspot.) This means that the number of Foneros, or members, cannot be larger than the number of Fon hotspots ever registered.
In fact, it will always be less, because some Foneros host more than one hotspot, and a very small number of discouraged Foneros will go to the trouble of unsubscribing from Fon via the formal, manual process. Here we have a problem, since Fon and Martin are saying now that the number of Foneros is far larger than the number of Fon hotspots.
So what is *not* a member? Martin Varsavsky has been quoted repeatedly and unambiguously, stating that Aliens are not members, and therefore, not Foneros. Here we have another problem, if it is true that 1,000,000 Fonero members, which does not include Aliens, have somehow joined Fon when there are only 300K-400K hotspots.
Please, Fon. It is time to turn off the reality distortion field. We know you are including Aliens in these counts, and this includes every bogus email address entered at a Fon hotspot to get 15 free trial minutes. We know that Fon is not free, just because it offers a brief trial connection, and roaming for contributing members. We know that more Fon hotspots have been registered, and been dead for months or years, than there remain live ones. And we know this still doesn’t even total a million.