Cellphone Companies To Promote Unpopular Social Networking Services

Verizon and AT&T have jumped head-first into the shallow end of the social networking pool. The companies will charge consumers up to $35 per year to access unpopular social networking sites, a feature they’re respectively billing as “SocialLife” and “My Communities.” Not part of your social life or your community: Facebook.

Verizon will charge $17.88 per year for their service, a bargain compared to AT&T’s $35.88 fee.

Rob Hyatt, executive director of premium content for AT&T’s wireless division, said a service like “My Communities” would be helpful for novice users who are not as familiar navigating the mobile world as they are online. The new services also give much needed exposure to sites that might otherwise be overlooked, he added.

Translation: We’re going to overcharge ignorant people to access unpopular social networking services.

To us, it’s just another sad example of cellphone companies trying to beat cash out of consumers in exchange for half-baked features that kinda resembles what they want, but still manage to entirely miss the mark.

We’re not sure why anyone would pay to access services like AsiaAve, BlackPlanet and MiGente, Faithbase, or GLEE, when they could access more popular services through their web-enabled phones.

Be social and tell us what you think in the comments.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless Offer New Services for Friends [Bits]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. CMU_Bueller says:

    It doesn’t bother me just so long as it’s something you can opt-in to and not something they try to force down our throats.

  2. junip says:

    Funny that AT&T has the higher of the two prices since most of the customers they’ve gained over the last few years have been iphone adopters who can easily use the facebook webapp.
    I just have to wonder.. who at those companies thought this was a good idea? Must be someone who is totally out of touch with the online world.

  3. DarkForest says:

    Maybe if enough people buy this useless package cellular rates will go down for the rest of us..

    Wishful thinking, I know.

  4. magic8ball says:

    I must be their least favorite customer ever … I use my phone to call people. that’s all. I have never used it to do anything with the internet. That’s what I pay my ISP for.

  5. TVarmy says:

    If I could access Facebook for $3 a month without having to pay for data fees otherwise, I would. This sounds like what this offers, but with unpopular social networks. Am I misunderstanding the article?

  6. juniper says:

    FWIW, there is a pretty longstanding community over at BlackPlanet. I hope this promotion doesn’t damage their reputation!

  7. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Translation: We’re going to overcharge ignorant people

    I liked this better when it was called AOL.

  8. dragonfire81 says:

    And cue the pissed off customers wanting credits for “accidentally” clicking on to this stuff when they didn’t mean to.

  9. Intertrode says:

    I wonder if you are missing the point. With names like:
    “AsiaAve, BlackPlanet and MiGente, Faithbase, or GLEE”
    it seems that the purpose of this initiative may be to appeal to niche markets. Much like television providers use ethnic programming packages. Companies don’t have to always market to the masses chasing the current “big thing.” This article is really a non-issue.

  10. johnnya2 says:

    Why is the cell phone company wrong to provide a service to SOME people? If you do not want the service do not order it. I think paying $99 for unlimited service is stupid, but I don’t begrudge people who talk on the phone that much the opportunity to do so. It is also awfully condescending to call the sites unpopular. By what standard? The people at niche sites tend to be very loyal to their site. The problem you people have is you complain about everything, then when things that are important happen nobody listens to you.

    • kahri says:

      @johnnya2: “Why is the cell phone company wrong to provide a service to SOME people?”

      Because they’re failing to mention that, assuming you’re already paying them for net access (you would need to get this), this ‘service’ just grabs from a website which you could easily access using the data plan you’ve paid for. Imagine paying your ISP for your email and an extra charge tacked to your monthly bill for the ‘service’ of using Outlook.

  11. VeeKaChu says:

    When the Asshat from AT&T says

    “a service like “My Communities” would be helpful for novice users who are not as familiar navigating the mobile world as they are online

    wouldn’t that sort of imply that these “novices” already know where they want to go when “online”, thus making their naivete regarding the “mobile world” a moot point?

  12. Jubilance22 says:

    This is weird.

    When I want to access Blackplanet/MySpace/Wikipedia on my phone I just use a mobile site called T9space. Works for me and no extra fees.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Jubilance22: I was just wondering, “Can’t you go to BlackPlanet right now for free?”

      If you’re already paying for Internet access on your phone then what’s the extra fee for accessing these web sites for? This sounds like another attempt to tier the Internet by tricking people into paying more to go to certain kinds of web sites.

  13. drjayphd says:

    Somehow, I suspect Paul Wall’s behind this. I mean, we all remember he’s got the Internet going nutz…

  14. TickedOff says:

    More accurately, we’re going to promote sites that are CIA/NSA fronts for efficient US-Citizen-supplied personal data collection to facilitate our universal surveillance and profiling of all US citizens. And in addition to all that, we’re going to make them pay for the privilege but encourage them with a subsidy.

  15. theblackdog says:

    I barely use social networking as it is, and I have no desire to use it on my cell phone, so I’ll just sit back and laugh.