Last weekend while trying to make some changes to a DSL connection, I realized something about DSL that I never really thought about, and had some thoughts about marketing I wanted to share.
DSL: A dying market?
What I was trying to do was hook up a router to a DSL connection so that more than one computer could hook to it. I downloaded some instructions online, and called tech support to try and figure it out.
They were unwilling to help much, and said I should just stick with the one computer that’s connected. I explained there were three computers in the house, and everyone there is tired of switching the network cable back and forth. I was advised that If I wanted, I could purchase more IPs (at an additional monthly cost) and accomplish this.
I found this to be rather ridiculous. Cable connections (which are much more popular) give you a router you can use to hook up multiple computers. It’s really easy, and it’s pretty much expected. The cable company not only provides a faster connection, but they practically encourage you to get every PC in the house hooked to it.
Is this why cable is winning the battle?
Cable is cheaper, faster and you can hook up everyone in the house. It’s easy to see why people choose it.
DSL is more expensive, usually slower, and with this particular connection, you get only one computer online at a time. Not exactly an appealing deal.
I eventually got it to work, after setting up PPPOE, cloning the mac address, hard coding IPs, switching the modem into bridging mode, disabling DHCP, and manually routing DNS queries to known servers.
Does this sound Greek to you? Does it sound like you need a degree in Computer science to accomplish this? I guess it’s a good thing I have one! It was difficult for me, and I’m a former network engineer. This is not something you should expect your customers to do, especially considering nearly every household in America has more than one PC now.
What market are they chasing?
DSL providers are chasing a market of people who either don’t have cable available, don’t know their options, or are too lazy/busy to switch. It’s not that DSL can’t afford cable connections, they’re cheaper. Its not that DSL people prefer slower speeds, nobody does.
They’re relying on people too lazy to change, or people who don’t have cable as an option. In other words: a dying market. Eventually more and more people will have cable available. More people will want higher speed and take the effort to upgrade it.
DSL has a pretty short lifespan when you look at this way. In 1999, DSL was the way to go, but now it’s fading away.
Are you doing this?
The point of this post is, you should think about your own market. Where are you directing your marketing? A well known bell curve exists, where it starts with enthusiasts and early adopters, then spreads to a few more people, spreads to the masses, then the “stragglers” or people the most reluctant to change.
If you’re investing in an old, tired technology you’re banking on the stragglers staying forever. If you refuse to change and adapt, the best you can hope for is years of customers who are too busy, or too lazy to change to something new. This is not a good long term strategy.
You have to ask yourself… am I banking on people never changing, or am I on the beginning of the curve and banking on mass market appeal? I don’t think I have to tell you where you want to be on that curve.
Clearly I need to start doing more to add to this account. I direct my ping.fm posts here, but for the most parts they probably almost look like spam because they’re just links to awesome pages I find.
I find a useful page, and send it to ping. Some dig em, some don’t. But I feel I need to write more.