Vonage Shakes Its Finger at Verizon

Vonage just kicked off a national campaign accusing Verizon, with which it's locked in a legal battle over patents, of limiting customer choice. The campaign could help raise consumer loyalty to Vonage.
Olga Kharif

Today, Vonage launched an aggressive national campaign accusing Verizon, a company whose patents a lower court found it violates, of trying to limit consumer choice. The campaign's slogan: "Al Gore invented the Internet, now Verizon is trying to patent it."

On www.freetocompete.com, Vonage actually encourages consumers to complain to Verizon and to sign petitions. Consumers can also, with a click of a button, send an e-mail to their friends telling them about what's going on.

What is going on is, Vonage is using its advertising dollars to start a grassroots campaign against Verizon. We all love rallying around the little guy. VoIP expert Jon Arnold predicted a month ago that, thanks to the Verizon-Vonage legal wranglings, we could see a grassroots movement rise up in support of Vonage. That said, this is not the grassroots campaign he had in mind. But Vonage, one of the country's biggest advertisers, clearly figures that if consumers don't start rallying around the company on their own, it should provide a little help.

I wouldn't be surprised if that works in increasing existing customers' loyalty. And high customer churn has been the company's greatest struggle of late.

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