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Earthlink Tries, Fails To Make Dial-Up Interesting
New 'faster site finder' seems a little sad...
by Karl Bode 06:18PM Wednesday Oct 07 2009
Earthlink lost $80 million on their attempt to offer citywide Wi-Fi, their investments in broadband over powerline (BPL) have gone nowhere, they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks (with the sole exception of Time Warner Cable as a condition of the AOL merger), and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. Now they're trying everything in their power to at least retain their remaining dial-up customers.

With their recent "hey, a recession is a great time to switch to dial-up!" marketing push not going particularly well, Earthlink is using a new marketing wrinkle to try and keep existing dial-up customers while attracting new ones. According to an announcement, Earthlink's miraculously speeding up dial-up "by up to 80%":
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EarthLink today announced three improvements which increase the speed of the online experience for dial-up Internet access users by up to 80%. Most notably, EarthLink has launched a proprietary "faster site finder" feature for its EarthLink Toolbar that automatically alerts a user when a faster version of a requested website is available. The company has also made improvements to its my.earthlink.net portal and EarthLink webmail which increase the speeds of those applications by 15% and 20% respectively.
What's the "faster site finder" toolbar actually doing? It's directing dial-up users to mobile mobile versions of existing websites, where users can experience all the annoyance of highly crippled mobile websites from the comfort of their own home. "We see this as a significant development for EarthLink's more than one million dial-up Internet users," says Earthlink, who reminds those people who are snickering that there's still more than 10 million poor souls still on dial-up connections.

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