Where is the Me Different?
Andy has coined the phrase “ME TOO, ME ALSO, ME DIFFERENT,” and I think I’m starting to see why. Particularly in the VoIP space, there’s a lot of “Me Too” and “Me Also,” both in Products and Services. There’s not a lot of “Me different.” But I think these terms are relative, i.e. you don’t stay “Me Different” for long.
Just this morning I get spammed with a Press Release for a VoIP country that is offering to give their customers $100 in free International calling if they sign up for a year of service. Don’t all VoIP companies offer cheap or even “free” long distance to some countries based on rate plan? Arbitage, who cares. Everyone offers cheap calls. Everyone offers the same 15 calling features your phone company offers for less. Everyone offers DIDs around the country (though it took a while for VoicePulse to finally get DIDs in the Seattle area .
When Skype first came out, it was “Me Different.” Oh sure, you had IM and Voice in seperate applications, but not integrated into one application. Skype is struggling to retain their “me differentness” as they have some extra competition in the way of Gizmo Project and Google Talk.
I frequently get requests to look at hardware various companies are selling. They seem to be carbon copies of one another. In fact, I got forwarded an ATA from a company Voxilla had purchased some USB handsets from. The damn thing was basically a Grandstream HT-286 with a slightly different case and an unbranded web interface. Talk about unoriginal. I’ve seen a lot of “unoriginal” hardware. That isn’t to say I haven’t seen some nice hardware. I am really digging my Linksys SPA-941 IP Phone. A high-quality IP phone at less than a high-quality IP phone price. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than, say, the SPA-841 and the Grandstream GXP-2000, but it’s worth the money.
Meanwhile, I’m on a quest for the “Me Different” in VoIP. I can’t say I’ve found anything truly earth shattering in quite some time.