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Network Optimization You rely on our high quality wireless communications service and we strive to continually provide it for you.

Ensuring Reliability. Our 3G network is the largest, most reliable high-speed wireless data network in the country. With tens of millions of customers, it’s our responsibility to upgrade and improve our network, services and practices, so you can continue to trust the network.  With this in mind, we’ve implemented new Network Optimization practices that will affect a very small percentage of customers.

Optimizing Our Network.  Our Network Optimization practices ensure that you can count on the reliable network you expect. To optimize our network, we manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers – the top 5% of data users with 3G devices on unlimited data plans – and only in places and at times of 3G network congestion. This ensures that all customers have the best data experience possible.

Implementing Change. 95% of our data customers will not see any change in service. You’ll continue surfing the Web, downloading music, uploading pictures and sending emails just as you always have. The highest data users, the top 5% with 3G devices on unlimited data plans, may experience managed data speeds when connected to a congested 3G cell site after reaching certain data-usage levels in a bill cycle. High data users will feel the smallest possible impact and only experience reduced data speeds when necessary for us to optimize data network traffic in that area.

Helpful Tools to Manage Your Wireless Data Experience.

Data Usage Calculator – Do you stream music? Surf the web? Upload photos? How much data do you use, and how much do you want to use? The data usage calculator breaks down the common features and activities so you can easily estimate how much data you might use each month.

#DATA – Check data use by dialing #DATA and pressing send from your Verizon Wireless phone and you’ll get a free text message with data information. While this tool will not show up-to-the-minute data use, it is a great way to quickly check your general data use amounts while on the go. For real-time data use information, go to My Verizon.

How To Track and Manage Your Wireless Data.

In addition to the tools and widgets, this video guide can help you manage your own wireless use.

“It’s Easy To Track Your Wireless Usage” Here’s a quick explanation of how to easily check and monitor your wireless use. Our store and customer service reps give the low-down on easy shortcuts you can use to check data, text and minute use, and account balances from your Verizon Wireless phone.

ANSWERS: Frequently Asked Questions

We are well known for our wireless networks and we are dedicated to ensuring that our customers have the best wireless experience possible.  Our network is a shared resource with tens of millions of customers.  We are implementing Network Optimization practices to ensure that all of our customers have the positive experience they expect.

Only a small percent of customers will be affected.  To be affected, you must be:

A data customer on an unlimited data plan;

Have a 3G Verizon Wireless device (if you have a 4G LTE device you will not be impacted); and

Among the top 5% of data users in a given month.

Then, you will only be affected:

When you are on the 3G network; and

When you are connected to a congested cell site.

There will be no change. The overwhelming majority of our data customers, 95%, will not be impacted at all.  The relatively high data consumption of just a small portion of data users could cause congestion for the rest of users, so we’re making this improvement to ensure that everyone continues to experience the nation’s best, most reliable network.

No, this is not throttling.

The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.  With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a congested cell site. Once you are no longer connected to a congested site, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.

We plan to begin implementing our Network Optimization program in September 2011, though it may take several weeks to fully implement the practice.

As of August 2011, the top 5% of data users were using 2 GB or more of data each month.

A good rule of thumb as of September 2011 is this: If you’re on an unlimited data plan, have a 3G device and are using more than 2 GB of data in a month, you’re in the top 5% of data users and will be impacted by Network Optimization when you’re connected to congested 3G cell sites.

Starting at the end of August 2011, if you are on an unlimited plan, are a high data user and had a contract prior to February 3, 2011, we’ll notify you through bill messages and on your My Verizon account if you may be affected.

We will update this number as the amount of data used by our customers changes over time. At that time, we will also update information on this website.

2 GB is a lot of action on your little smartphone – here are two examples of what you can do with less than 2 GB of data on your phone in a month:

Send 7,500 emails; visit 750 web pages; stream 150 minutes of music, 1 hour of high-resolution video and 5 hours of low-resolution video; and upload 60 photos.

Send 7,500 emails; visit 150 web pages; stream 150 minutes of music, 1 hour of high-resolution video and 5 hours of low-resolution video; and upload 300 photos.

To view your data use, log on to your My Verizon account.

By alerting customers in February 2011, and including the notice in our terms and conditions as of February 3, 2011, we made sure customers knew we began reserving the right to implement Network Optimization practices.  In February 2011, we began alerting customers:

Data Management – (note: now named “Network Optimization” to more accurately describe the tools) – Verizon Wireless may reduce data throughput speeds in a given bill cycle for customers who use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of data users.  The reduction will only apply to those using congested cell sites and can last for the remainder of the current and immediately following billing cycle.  The reductions will only apply when appropriate in locations and at times of peak demand.

Data Optimization – (note: now named “Video Optimization” to more accurately describe its function) – Verizon Wireless is implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in its network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users, and although unlikely, the process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on the mobile device.

Yes. We began implementing video optimization in February 2011 in a number of markets, and we will continue to do so.

We updated our Terms & Conditions on February 3, 2011. If you signed a contract on or after February 3, 2011 the new Terms & Conditions were included in that contract. Starting at the end of August 2011, if you are on an unlimited plan and had a contract prior to February 3, 2011, we’ll notify you through bill messages and on your My Verizon account if you may be affected.

If you are on an unlimited plan, using a 3G smartphone, in the top 5% of data users and have a contract prior to February 3, 2011, the following message will appear on your monthly Verizon Wireless bill or on your My Verizon account to notify you that you may be affected:

Anyone on an unlimited data plan, with a 3G device and in the top 5% of data users is subject to Network Optimization practices when connected to congested 3G cell sites.  If you think this will impact your business, contact your sales representative or go into your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store to discuss other service plans to meet your needs.

No.  We reserve the right to include 4G LTE users later, but right now this only applies to the top 5% of users with unlimited data plans using 3G devices. If you have a 4G LTE device you will not be affected at this time.

This will not affect your texting or voice calls.  Music and video streaming, Web browsing and email are subject to Network Optimization, however this will mainly impact streaming as that requires the most data.

If you are a high data user, on an unlimited data plan, have a 3G device and you were on a contract prior to February 3, 2011, you will be alerted on your monthly bill or My Verizon home screen that you may fall into the top 5% of data users.  If you meet these criteria, you will be impacted only when connected to congested cell sites. If you are on an unlimited data plan and have a 3G device but use less than 2 GB of data, you may be notified of the new policy via you monthly bill or My Verizon home screen. This is to ensure you are fully aware of this policy should your data use increase in the future.

No.  You will be subject to Network Optimization for that billing cycle and the following cycle. When subject to Network Optimization you will only be affected when connected to a congested cell site. Otherwise, your data will operate as normal.

Yes, if you are consistently in the top 5%, on an unlimited data plan and have a 3G device you will continue to be subject to Network Optimization when connected to congested 3G cell sites.

You may also switch to a 4G LTE device, as only 3G deviced on unlimited data plans can be affected.

Because this process is in place to ensure the best service to our customers, the speed will vary at any given time.  It will depend on how many users are on the same site at that time and what data applications are being used on that site at that time.

We offer many tools to help you keep track of your wireless use.

My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile – Monitor data usage in real-time by logging on to My Verizon from a computer or My Verizon Mobile from your mobile handset.

Data Usage Calculator –The data calculator breaks down common features and activities that use data so you can quickly and easily estimate how much data you use each month.

Data Usage Widget – Download our Data Usage Widget, available on most Android™ smartphones, for a quick way to track wireless use during your billing cycle with just a glance at the phone screen.  Similar widgets are available for most BlackBerry® phones as well.

#DATA – Check data use by dialing #DATA and pressing send from your Verizon Wireless phone to receive a free text message with data information.  While this tool will not show up-to-the-minute data use, it is a great way to quickly check your general wireless use while on the go.

Currently we do not have that option, but we are looking into a variety of potential new tools to help customers manage their own wireless data use.

There is no way for you to easily determine that today.  There are many variables that can contribute to a cell site being congested including, but not limited to, the number of active users and the type of applications being used on that site.  While we work to ensure we have the most reliable network for every location, these variables combined with other environmental factors determine whether or not a particular cell site reaches the limits of its capacity and becomes congested at any particular time.

No. You will still receive unlimited data use, so there is no compensation for reduced data speeds.

No. Tethering requires you to have a usage-based data plan specifically for tethering, to reflect higher expected usage levels when you use your phone as a modem to connect laptops and other devices to the network. Therefore, data used when tethering will not count toward your other device’s data plan.

For additional questions, please visit your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store or call customer service at 1-800-922-0204.

Explanation of Optimization Deployment

Given the increasing web traffic for downloading video files, video optimization in particular benefits both the user as well as the network by facilitating sustainable online video browsing using only the required amount of data while enhancing the video experience and making room for other users to enjoy higher browsing speeds. Although much effort is invested to avoid changing the file during optimization, and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernable, the process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on a device.

The optimization techniques are applied to all content files coming from the Internet Port 80 that use the most common compression formats. The form and extent of optimization depends on the compression format of the content file, but does not depend on the content of the file, the originating web site, or the user’s device. No distinction in the application of these techniques is made based on the source website or originator of the content. The system optimizes files based strictly on the type of file and the relevant file formats (recognizing that some file types are not modified).  Accordingly, all content, including Verizon Wireless branded content, of the same type will be subject to the same process.

Why Optimization? Delivering content files requested by an end user over the Internet always imposes some burden on the delivery network in terms of size of the file as well as the distance the file components must travel between the source and end user. These factors also directly affect the user experience in downloading the file.

The burden on the network can be mitigated and the speed and efficiency of delivery to the end user can be improved if the network deploys techniques to “optimize” or streamline content files. For example, the size of the file can be compressed by removing pieces of information that are not usable by the end user’s mobile device, or that are not noticeable to the user. Caching the file for subsequent requests can also reduce the time needed for delivery to end users. Such network management techniques improve the user experience without noticeable impact on the content itself.

How Opitmization Works.  All HTTP (Port 80, i.e., World Wide Web) traffic is directed to the optimization process. The direction of traffic to the optimization process is established when the user starts an HTTP data session before any requests for content from a specific web site have been made. Accordingly, content files are not selected for optimization based on the nature of the web content itself or the source or provider of the web content file. All web content files delivered over Port 80, regardless of source, are directed to the optimization process. The system thus captures all Verizon Wireless branded web content delivered from its web servers, and treats such content in the same way as content of the same type requested from non-Verizon Wireless sites on the Internet.

Content files made available on the World Wide Web come in a variety of types (web pages, text, image, video) and formats. The process incorporates several optimization techniques that depend upon the specific type of content file. Specifically, text files are compressed without any loss of information (“lossless”) and cached for subsequent end user requests. Image files (PNG, JPEG, GIF formats, for example) are streamlined to remove colors or other data bits that would not be visible to the human eye, or to end users on a mobile device with limited display resolutions, thereby decreasing the size of the file, and also cached. The output image file reflects “lossy” optimization because some data bits from the original file are lost in the optimization process.

Video Optimization. Video files represent a substantial and growing segment of web traffic, and also come in a variety of formats.  Optimization only captures recorded video files and does not affect live streaming video, e.g., a video conference call. Several optimization techniques are applied to video files: transcoding, caching, and buffer tuning. All are agnostic as to the source or content of the video.

Transcoding. When preparing a video file for posting on a web site, the video originator must select a codec (compression/decompression format) for the file. All codecs are “lossy” to some degree in the compression process in that they reduce the quality of the original video.  But, some codecs are more efficient than others. The Optimization transcodes video files from their source codecs to a more efficient codec, H.264.   If the requesting device cannot decode an H.264 file, the file is delivered in the input codec. Also, if the input file codec is H.264, there will be little or no effect on the file from the processes described below.

The goal of this optimization process is to reduce the content file size while maintaining very similar video quality. Re-quantization levels, that is, the size of the output file, are defined by the output video bit rate settings (based on a percentage from the original). The loss of information from the input file may result in reduced color accuracy and sharpness of the output video. These effects are offset with optimized de-blocking and smoothing algorithms to retain good perceptual visual quality (as measured by objective video quality tools discussed below). In addition, videos are sent with variable bit rate (VBR), which provides more consistent quality at the same bit rate.

Optimization processes can range in how aggressively they pursue content file savings. Verizon Wireless is using the Video Quality Measurement (VQM) tool to set the amount of reduction in a video file size. VQM is a standardized method of objectively measuring video quality that closely predicts the subjective quality ratings that would be obtained from a panel of human viewers. Although the tool is free, the technology is covered by four U.S. patents owned by NTIA/ITS. The compression settings utilized equate to a .4-.6 score on the VQM scale, which is considered an “unnoticeable” change.

Caching. When a video file is detected from the Internet stream, the system decodes the first few frames (8 KB) of the video.  Based on those frames, the system attempts to locate the video file in its video cache, and, if the file is not in the cache, it copies the video file, catalogs, optimizes and places it into the video cache. (The system needs to look at the first few frames for the cataloging process because the same video may come to the network from different sources and would have different URLs and headers; so, the header information is insufficient to identify multiple copies of the same video.) The caching process is the same regardless of the source or content os the video.

When a requested video is not in cache initially, the input video file is sent on to the requesting device. When the system finds the video in its cache, then the flow from the Internet stops, and the video is replaced with file from the cache. The video cache will retain the video, until the staleness filter flushes it from cache. The video cache has a finite volume so it will regularly flush unused videos.

Buffer Tuning. The third video optimization technique is used in delivery to end users. Whenever the video is requested, it is delivered on a “just in time” basis. That is, rather than the entire file being downloaded when requested, the video is downloaded on an as needed basis. A sufficient amount of video would be delivered to fill the user’s buffer to start viewing, and the remainder would be delivered as needed in time for the viewer to see it without interrupting the flow, calculating the video bit-rate and the actual bandwidth available. This progressive download achieves significant network savings if the viewer chooses not to view the entire video, and it conserves data usage that would count toward the end users’ data allowance, and may result in savings if the end user is on a pay-for-usage plan. As with caching, the buffer process is the same regardless of the source or content of the video.

These video optimization techniques generally reduce the time for a video to start and eliminate external network fluctuations that sometimes cause videos to stall. They also speed up the time for the video to pick up when jumping forward in the video.  The cache responds to the video request much faster than a remote location. Because each video player needs to accumulate a certain amount of video seconds, the “buffer”, before the video actually starts playing, a smaller video will use the same amount of seconds to transmit less data as the original video, and, when delivered at the same speed, will result in faster buffer accumulation and therefore a faster start. The end result is a much smoother video that starts faster.

You're reading Verizon Begins Throttling Iphone Unlimited 3G Customers Who Use 2Gb/Month

Iphone: 3G Vs. 3G S

PALO ALTO, Calif. — I picked up my new iPhone 3G S at the store early today, and after several hours of testing, I’m impressed so far.

Not only did I find it a lot faster than the 3G for loading applications, I also quickly came to appreciate its new video capabilities and its voice control.

The new phone looks virtually identical to its predecessor. And since Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) just issued a free update of the iPhone operating system for previous iPhones, many of the new features are also available on first- and second-generation iPhones, and even the iPod Touch (although iPod Touch users will have to pay $10 for the software).

But there are some things you only get with the new hardware.

For example, with the 3G S and the older 3G side by side, I launched several applications. AOL Radio, Facebook and Safari all loaded about twice as fast on the 3G S.

There is technology in the new phone that will use AT&T’s faster HSPA 7.2 megabit data network, but that network isn’t yet available.

However, I still found Web surfing in Safari to be noticeably faster on the new phone compared to the 3G connected to the same Wi-Fi or cellular network, presumably because of the new phone’s faster processor.

I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I’m falling in love with the Voice Control feature in the new phone. To call someone in your contact list, you simply hold down the home button and say, “Call Dave Smith” (or whomever). If Dave has multiple phone numbers, a voice will ask you if you wish to call his home, or office, or his mobile — and so on.

You can also use this to dial a number by simply saying “Dial 555-1212”, and it will dial for you.

When in the main screen, I said “shuffle”, and the phone told me that no music is playing, and asked, “Do you want to play music now?” When I said “yes,” the music started. Available commands are displayed on the screen when you’re using Voice Control.

Of course, Apple didn’t invent voice control. There are similar features on many other cell phones but, as is often the case, Apple implemented voice control in a way that actually makes it easy and pleasant to use.

One of the most heralded new features is the iPhone’s improved camera. It’s been upgraded to three megapixels and now has autofocus. If you touch the screen, a rectangle shows the focus area.

Most important, the 3G S can now take video, which you can easily e-mail or upload to YouTube. The video is standard VGA — not high definition — but you can shoot either in portrait or widescreen landscape mode.

Once you’ve completed your shoot, you can trim the beginning and the ending. That’s not exactly high-end video editing, but it’s very useful. You can then send the video as an e-mail or upload it directly to your YouTube account.

My first video won’t win any Academy Awards, but you can see the 43-second clip I shot from the Apple store below.

There is a also a nifty new Voice Memo application that, like the video app, lets you trim the beginning and ending of your audio. Although it’s likewise not as positioned as a professional tool, I found the quality good enough to use for radio clips.

At first, I wondered why anyone other than a hiker would care about the iPhone’s new compass — until I tried pressing the compass button within Google Maps and noticed that it orients you based on the direction you’re moving. I’m sure other application developers will also find a way to use this feature.

As I said earlier, some of the features on the new phone are also available on older iPhones through the free OS 3 upgrade. These include (finally) the ability to copy, cut and paste text; a wider landscape keyboard in mail; messages; and the ability to search across the phone for contacts, mail, calendars, notes and iPod content.

Clearly, the iPhone 3G S is a worthwhile new addition to Apple’s lineup. But if you’re already an iPhone user, it’s hard to say whether the extra speed and new features are worth the extra price, especially if you’re in the middle of your AT&T contract and have to pay a premium over the standard $199 for the 16 GB model or $299 for the 32 GB version.

And now that the older 8 GB iPhone 3G has been reduced to $99, some people might want to buy that inflation-friendly model, which has many of the same features at a more affordable price.

Still, compared to the competition — including Palm’s new Pre — the iPhone 3 GS is a good value and a very innovative product.

Predatory Customers Who Want To Destroy Your Business

Did You Know?

You should respond to all online reviews – positive and negative. Responding to negative reviews gives you a chance to fix the problem, and responding to good customer reviews shows you care about all your customers.

5 types of predatory customers

This chart provides a quick overview of the five types of predatory customers and how to spot them:

Type

Behavior

What attracts this customer

The Arranger

Demands options that don’t exist, refuses to compromise

A lack of options

The Corruptor

Says or does anything to get what they want 

Poor boundaries

The Disruptor

Demands special treatment and to be in charge

An aversion to conflict

The Slanderer

Guilts you into giving them what they want

A willingness to bend over backward to keep customers happy

The Schemer

Doesn’t think the rules apply to them 

Businesses that aren’t very unique

The Arranger: Tries to adjust deals, circumstances and events

The Arranger always wants a win-lose situation that ends in their favor. They change terms and agreements, demand options that don’t exist, and push for concessions that benefit only them.

An Arranger cautionary tale

Mitchell ran a temp agency, and his company had just won a major contract with a well-known business. If all went well, this contract would be 10 times his revenue in one year.

But things didn’t go well. The Arranger had Mitchell sign a contract forever waiving his right to take legal action if something went wrong.

Not realizing his mistake, Mitchell hired hundreds of workers and took out a loan to cover payroll while waiting for The Arranger to pay. But The Arranger decided they weren’t going to pay. The bank demanded payment, and the Arranger’s refusal to pay meant Mitch’s business was forced to shut down.

Dangerous marketing that attracts the Arranger

The Arranger looks for flexibility. Offering free estimates to anyone who asks and including concepts like “we’re here to make you happy” and “the customer is always right” in your marketing attracts Arrangers.

While the specifics in each situation are different, the general idea is the same. Arrangers are drawn to marketing that communicates one of two things:

Fear of losing their business: When we’ve got plenty of options and lots of prospects, we’re usually more focused on fairness than being “flexible.” Experienced Arrangers know your inability to walk away gives them leverage. They use this leverage to get the terms and conditions they want.

An unhealthy willingness to be flexible: You can afford to be inflexible when you have lots of options. When you’re feeling desperate, it’s easy to do whatever it takes.

Tip

When handling nonpaying clients who have left you empty-handed, consider talking to a lawyer, going to small claims court, or hiring one of the best collection agencies.

The Corruptor: Reliably dishonest and consistently unethical

The Corruptor will say or do anything to get what they want. They’ll lie to you, pester you to do things you’re not comfortable with and ask you to lie for them. They’re always trying to erode your morals and values.

A Corruptor cautionary tale

Jan sells cupcakes online. While her business is new, things are going well. Along comes a Corruptor who places an order for 336 cupcakes for an upcoming birthday party. They request a custom design, fresh strawberries, German chocolate – the works.

Jan completes the order and delivers the cupcakes herself. A week later, the Corruptor initiates a chargeback with their credit card company claiming they never received the order. They follow up by posting a nasty review on Yelp.

Their credit card company gives the Corruptor a full refund, and Jan loses a ton of money. Her business suffers as potential customers take their business elsewhere.

Dangerous marketing that attracts the Corruptor

Corruptors are attracted to marketing that conveys you’re willing to accept a one-sided relationship or abuse. Firm boundaries and the ability to say no give you power and protection against the Corruptor.

Corruptors are drawn to marketing that communicates the following.

Poor boundaries: It’s common for the Corruptor to feel out their targets. The last thing they want is to take the fall for their bad behavior. Questions about hypothetical scenarios involving “gray areas” are red flags. Questions about what you’re willing to do to earn their business or loyalty are also red flags.

No quid pro quo (this for that): If you’re negotiating with a customer and they ask for a concession, they must be willing to give you one in return. If you give them a discount, they should be willing to do something for you.

Tip

To avoid chargebacks, create detailed product or service descriptions, and post a clear refund policy prominently in your store and on your website.

The Disruptor: All about control

Disruptors demand special treatment and want to be in charge. They throw tantrums when they don’t get their way and refuse to use your products as intended. They boss your employees around and hoard access.

Real-life Disruptor example 

Apple’s design focus comes from a strongly controlled, perfectionist culture. It knows its way is the right way. Apple feels that those who don’t like its aesthetic shouldn’t buy its products. Disruptors wouldn’t have much success with Apple.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has a strong peace-making culture. For example, when Windows 8 came out in 2012, customers threw a collective tantrum about its design. Microsoft, being more vulnerable to disruptors, announced it was fixing the problem with Windows 10. 

Dangerous marketing that attracts the Disruptor

Businesses with peace-making or fun-loving cultures are most at risk. If your marketing tells customers that you prefer to avoid conflict or you’re all about fun, you’re an easy target for the Disruptor. Messages about how the customer is always right are music to a Disruptor’s ears – and a cash flow disaster when you’re missing the right systems.

Businesses unknowingly attract Disruptors with marketing messages like these:

Designed around you.

Have it your way.

The customer is king.

The Slanderer: Uses guilt and shame to control or punish you

Slanderers will tell you that you’ve let them down. They’ll lie to you or call you names – whatever it takes to get you to lose your cool. When you do, they have the justification for reneging on their commitments.

A Slanderer cautionary tale

Fitz treated his vendor like “the help” – because it was. A thousand other firms could do the same job for less, and Fitz made sure his vendor knew it.

“I’m your biggest client. My company pays your bills.”

His vendor suffered for it. It struggled to keep employees and constantly discounted its prices to “earn” more work.

Dangerous marketing that attracts the Slanderer 

If your business lacks measurable uniqueness, you’re leaving yourself open to the Slanderer. Businesses that lack uniqueness feel the sting of being beaten by competitors and passed over by customers.

They realize there’s no compelling reason (besides price or terms) that compels a customer to do business with them. So their marketing signals to customers that they’re willing to abuse themselves to make customers happy.

You’ve seen the marketing pieces:

We care about our customers! [Aren’t you supposed to do that?]

We never stop working for you!

The customer is king!

The Schemer: Looks for loopholes

The Schemer uses their resourcefulness to find a way over, under, around or through your rules. These customers use creative ways to game the system and manipulate you.

Real-life Schemer example

A man in China purchased a first-class ticket on Eastern China Airlines and used it to scam a year’s worth of free meals at the VIP lounge in Xi’an Airport.

He arrived before his flight and ate at the lounge. After he finished, he changed his flight’s departure date to another day.

He repeated this process over and over and over, eating some 300 meals in a year. Then, when the airline started investigating, he canceled his ticket before it expired and received a full refund.

Dangerous business and marketing practices that attract the Schemer

Businesses often make promises without adding conditions. A Schemer typically targets these areas first. If you’re offering a money-back guarantee, Schemers want to see that your guarantee gives them the right to demand a refund indefinitely and keep your product. It’s ideal when there are no conditions they have to meet. It’s a bonus if you give them cash or incentives.

Ask yourself a couple questions to avoid attracting Schemers:

Does your product or service come with a guarantee?

Do you make promises to your customers?

Tip

Predatory customers can damage your brand’s reputation. To stay on top of what people are saying about your business, consider using one of the best online reputation management providers.

How should you handle predatory customers?

If you get any of these customers, should you show them the door right away? It depends.

If you’re unprepared and unsure about dealing with the kind of behavior we’ve covered here, it’s a good idea to move on.

On the other hand, getting a new customer is expensive. It takes time, money and effort. If you’re able to turn them into all-stars, these customers often spend as much as 10x more than your average customer.

If you have established customers who exhibit predatory behavior, your decision is the same.

If you make the changes to your marketing plan as discussed, customers will have to decide if they’re interested in changing with you. If old marketing habits brought these customers in, they won’t be happy. Expect things to get worse before they get better as these customers try to put things back to the way they were.

If they accept the changes, their behavior will change. Those who refuse will leave (on their own or with help).

Your marketing shouldn’t attract predatory customers

All-star customers trust you, so they’re more understanding and insist on giving you control. You’re no longer expected to bend over backward or take abuse for a chance to earn their business.

They don’t fight, bully or manipulate you for the best deal. They realize you’re unique and the only one who can offer the one thing you provide. Getting and retaining customers is so much easier when they’re loyal, trusting and easy to please.

Jamie Johnson contributed to the writing and research in this article. 

6 Reasons The Iphone 3G S Sucks

The Name Sucks

Lets’ start with the obvious: the name – iPhone 3G S. I had speculated about several names for the new iPhone and I really thought they would simply call it “iPhone”. You have to admit that “iPhone 3G S” is a pretty clunky name. If you were going to have a “S” in the name, why not simply call it “iPhone S”. It would have been a shorter and more “esthetically appealing” name.

The Design Is Boring

I think what I hate the most about the iPhone 3G S is the design which is exactly identical to the iPhone 3G. When I pay $560.16 for a new phone, I expect to have something that looks different from everybody else. Yes, the iPhone is a phone for the elite, I admit it. I kinda miss the days of the first iPhone, when people came to me and candidly asked me “wow, is this the iPhone?”. I was proud of it. Now everyone has an iPhone, and even worse, everyone has an iPhone that looks similar.

I was really looking forward having a revamped iPhone design. To those of you arguing with this, think about it this way. What would you say if BMW came out with the same car design twice, even though the engine was different? Any car critic would just roast BMW for their lack of creativity. Strangely, no one seems to care that the iPhone design is the same as the previous one.

The Camera Still Sucks

We went from a 2 to 3 megapixels camera. It’s better than nothing but it’s still 4 years behind every other smartphone, possibly more. The camera doesn’t even come with a flash. My old BlackBerry pearl did all this 4 years ago…

New Features Are Old News

Voice dialing, video recording and copy/paste were welcome as the messiah during WWDC. That’s BS if you want my opinion. This is just a software update, and once again, any smartphone on the market has had these features for years.

The Pricing Is Scandalous

The attractive $300 price tag for the 32GB iPhone 3G S is only applicable to new AT&T customers. While I understand the whole subsidize thing, I am really pissed I have to pay $560.16 for this new phone, especially when I see that the iPhone 3G S costs about 17% more than the G1 and 32% more than the Palm Pre over the course of a 2 year contract. AT&T is cashing in on existing customers, yet it won’t give throw them a bone and sell them the iPhone 3G S at $299?

No Tethering Or MMS At Launch

This is not specific to the iPhone 3G S, but rather to AT&T. AT&T has most likely been aware of these new features for months, and it still couldn’t manage to get its shit together on time. That’s a huge fail for AT&T who claims tethering and MMS will be available “later this summer”. At least AT&T won’t charge extra for MMS but I can’t see their future tethering plan under $30. I’ll stick to PDAnet for my free tethering.

The iPhone 3G S really is a non-event for existing 3G owners but the success of the pre-orders shows once again that fanboys are willing to throw money at anything Apple releases. If it wasn’t kind of my job to have the latest iPhone, I probably wouldn’t have upgraded.

Gooapple 3G Iphone 4 Showdown: Part 1 Overview

This is Part 1 of our GooApple Vs. iPhone 4 showdown. This first part concentrates on the external differences and gives a quick look at some of the specifications of both the real iPhone and it’s knock off the GooApple 3G. Thanks to Shanzhaiji for allowing us to translate their work and post it here.

Back in the early days of iPhone cloning some companies were happy enough just to glue a reflective Apple logo to a clamshell phone and misspell iPhone on the case and call it an iPhone clone.

As time moved on though, iPhone clones (and other smartphone clones) got better and better, with bodies which looked the same as the real thing!

If you head to one of the ‘phone cities’ located in any one of China’s larger cities you will not only get to see the bad clones of yesteryear, but you will also be treated to the current crop of iPhone clones.

What is the GooApple?

‘Goo’ from the name Google, who lends its Android operating system to the phone and ‘Apple’ for the iPhone 4 design.

Why is the GooApple better than previous iPhone knock-offs?

That’s not to say the GooApple 3G is every bit as good as the iPhone 4, it can’t simply because the budget isn’t there, but if you want a solid smartphone with the look of an iPhone the GooApple is where it’s at.

GooApple 3G vs. iPhone 4 at a glance

But look closely and you will also notice some areas the GooApple not only matches the iPhone 4’s specification, but even beats it!

The rear camera on both the iPhone 4 and GooApple 3G are 5 mega-pixel units, but the front camera on the GooApple is actually a much better 1.3 mega-pixel lens! The iPhone 4’s front camera is VGA quality at best!

The dimensions of both phones are the same, 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm, but the GooApple weighs in at only 120 grams.

What’s in the GooApple’s Box?

There is a ‘paper clip’ sim card tray pin, headphones, USB to 30pin dock connector which can be used to transfer files as well as charge the GooApple, a wall plug adapter and also full colour instructions (something which the iPhone 4 lacks!)

The USB 30pin transfer wire is pretty well the same as the iPhone 4’s, the two can actually be interchanged and used on either device!

The headphones that come with the GooApple are very similar to the iPhone 4’s, even down to the remote. However the quality is much poorer and the the copper wires are easily broken if not cared for.

Full colour instructions are a nice touch, not only in Chinese either! There is an English version too!

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Let’s Compare faces!

Here they are, the iPhone 4 sat next to the GooApple 3G. Go on tell us which is which.

Even on closer inspection you would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the two. In this case the GooApple is on the left of the picture, but we could have easily told you it was on the right, it’s impossible to tell from this photo!

Only when you get very close to the two do you see differences in quality. The iPhone 4 (on the right) has a much smoother and cleaner finish.

Take it from behind

Looking at the two from behind shows up the only major tale telling sign that one is real and the other is fake.

The now iconic Apple has been embossed on to the front of the cheeky Android robot on the GooApple.

Also we have the GooApple name instead of iPhone, and the claim that the GooApple was designed in California… Well I suppose it was in a roundabout way.

Spot the differences!

Despite GooApple doing a superb job of imitating the iPhone 4, they have done it all the same as Apple. Some differences are due to manufacturing method, while others come down to the companies personal choices.

The GooApple looks to have had the ‘antenna’ gap added for looks rather than function.

Which is which? from the bottom we can’t see any differences. 100% perfect!

Also worth mentioning are the controls. On the GooApple the mute switch actually acts as a toggle switch between modes. When the mute is switch to the ‘off’ position the volume buttons act as they would on an iPhone 4, increasing or decreasing the volume. Toggle the switch to the ‘on’ position and the volume buttons act as the back and option buttons which are used in the Android OS.

On the right you can again see the larger gap, but also a larger SIM card tray.

GooApple have chosen to retain the older mini SIM design rather than the micro SIM design of the iPhone 4.

That’s if for our external look at the iPhone 4 Vs. the GooApple. Next time we will have more details on the differences in the screen and the Android operating system.

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Comparison Of Iphone Ownership Cost On At&T, Verizon, Sprint And T

With yesterday’s announcement that Apple’s iPhone 5 will finally start selling through T-Mobile on April 12, we can now compare the total cost of ownership across the nation’s four largest wireless carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

In figuring out how much one saves on T-Mobile over two years versus other carriers, Zagg concluded that T-Mobile’s contract-free iPhone 5 comes in at a very cool $580 cheaper over two years. However, the difference evaporates if you switch your significant other or an entire family of four to the nation’s fourth-largest carrier…

Zagg in a blog post cautions that its math assumes T-Mobile’s unlimited data tier (the carrier offers three tiers of data: 500MB, 2GB and unlimited).

Sprint by default offers only unlimited option and claims not to throttle data.

Verizon and AT&T, as you know, no longer have unlimited data so Zagg used the current pricing for their respective Share Everything and Mobile Share plans, each offering four gigabytes of cellular data per month.

Based on these terms, T-Mobile’s no-contract iPhone 5 at a total of $2,259.99 over two years comes in at a $580 cheaper than the total cost of owning the subsidized iPhone 5 with the obligatory two-year service agreement with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, each coming in at the same $2,389.99.

Here’s your chart.

Should you opt for two gigabytes of data instead of T-Mobile’s unlimited tier, you’ll be saving an additional $240 over the two years, resulting in the total saving of $820 – just nine bucks short of the 64GB cellular iPad 4.

John Brownlee of Cult of Mac notes that there’s one carrier that is cheaper than T-Mobile: Walmart’s in-house Straight Talk.

Basically, the iPhone 5 gets cheaper and cheaper to have for 24 months the smaller the carrier gets. Cricket, Straight Talk and Virgin are still cheaper options if you don’t mind buying your iPhone 5 for full price at the start of your contract.

On the downside, LTE doesn’t work on Straight Talk.

T-Mobile yesterday formally flipped the switch on LTE in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington DC. The Deutsche Telekom-owned telco is shooting for a hundred million LTE customers by mid-2013 and 200 million people nationwide by year’s end.

The Verge ran more complex calculations involving families.

If you along with your significant other plan on switching to T-Mobile, you’ll save a tiny amount over two years compared to Verizon and AT&T.

While there’s no denying that T-Mobile’s new plans are the cheapest around, it’s not the slam-dunk the carrier would have you believe.

For a couple of two, it’s about $4,000 for shared data on Verizon and AT&T, or the same price with unlimited data on T-Mobile. 

They produced this handy comparison chart.

Whichever way you look at it, T-Mobile is the cheapest of the bunch, for individuals.

In considering your choice of carrier, you should remember that Verizon’s and AT&T’s LTE coverage is much larger than T-Mobile’s. On the other hand, there’s no escaping from those two-year deals at AT&T or Verizon.

By comparison, T-Mobile lets you cancel your service anytime your want, though you’ll of course have to pay up for the remaining monthly installments.

“T-Mobile customers have to make up the difference between what they’ve paid so far and their old phone’s retail value if they want to try a new device,” notes the publication.

As a reminder, T-Mobile sells the iPhone 5 with its new Simple Choice Plan for $99.99 down and $20 per month for 24 months. The devices is not sold tied to a service contract – that’s why the cost of the hardware is spread across monthly installments plus that $99.99 up front payment.

That goes against the industry’s practice of  subsidizing the hardware by requiring people to sing a long-term service agreement. In a way, T-Mobile is basically giving you interest-free financing for the hardware and lower service cost than rival telcos.

If you look at the total cost of the iPhone 5 hardware at T-Mobile, you’re paying a total of $580: $99.99 down payment + $20 per month over the next 24 months. This is actually $69 cheaper compared to Apple’s asking price for the unlocked iPhone 5 ($649) through its online store.

The carrier’s no-contract iPhone 4/4S is a $75/$1 cheaper versus the online Apple store. T-Mobile is also the first major U.S. telco to support HD Voice (or Wideband Audio) on the iPhone 5.

Unfortunately, their tremendously useful WiFi Calling feature which routes voice calls through nearby WiFi hotspots, in turn saving cellular voice minutes, won’t be available on Apple’s device at launch.

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