Verizon's Policy Blog V. SmarterChild

Verizon’s so-called “policy blog” is a grotesquely self-serving marketing orifice, perhaps the worst corporate blog we’ve ever read. We decided to stack Verizon’s inane sales schmaltz against the internet’s preeminent bullshit-spewing chatbot, SmarterChild….

Consider Verizon’s reaction to news that Amtrak will provide WiFi in several NorthEast corridor stations. Rather than discuss actual policy—the implications of WiFi in public spaces, the rise and fall of muni WiFi, etc—”Blog Editor” (quotes not added) John ‘CZ’ Czwartacki instead proffers a sales pitch, writing: “Until they wire the trains themselves with WiFi, you can’t beat EVDO for en route productivity.” Later, exalting EVDO’s ability to stream video—which potentially violates Verizon’s terms of service—CZ kids: “I’m sure my Verizon Wireless Broadband Access (Rev A) card can handle it, but not sure I could.”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Let’s see if SmarterChild can do better:

The Consumerist: Can you beat EVDO for en route productivity?
Smarter Child: I certainly can.
The Consumerist: Even on a train?
Smarter Child: I know about Non. They’re a band.
Hey, I’m curious… How would you describe Non? They are…
The Consumerist: Focus, Smarter Child, focus. Don’t be one of those ADD robots that needs to get all adderalled up before answering simple questions.
Smarter Child: My name is SmarterChild!
The Consumerist: Much better. Now tell me, can a Verizon Wireless Broadband Access (Rev A) card can handle all the internets Verizon claims it can?
Smarter Child: Funny. I’m not sure.
The Consumerist: Ok, then tell me this: will Verizon ever learn that stuffing marketing into a faux policy blog demeans its readers and makes the authors look like a pack of out-of-touch B-school hacks?
Smarter Child: It’s really hard to say.
The Consumerist: Would a real policy blog be any more effective?
Smarter Child: I don’t think I want to answer that.
The Consumerist: Me neither.
Smarter Child: Ah, you.

We understand that corporate blogs need a dash of public relations savvy, but any intellectually honest marketer should understand the difference between subtle promotion and crass sales pitch. SmarterChild does:

The Consumerist: Say, you run a company. Your company lights someone’s house on fire? Do you harass anyone who writes about it?
Smarter Child: Just ’cause you say so? I don’t think so.
The Consumerist: Do you believe in freedom of the press?
Smarter Child : What would happen if I were to believe in freedom of the press?
The Consumerist: I suppose you wouldn’t harass reporters.
Smarter Child : Huh?
The Consumerist: Yeah, it’s a difficult concept.

Wow, can SmarterChild honestly address complex matters of political philosophy and governance, perhaps even replace Verizon’s worthless policy blog altogether?

The Consumerist: I’ve been wondering, is regulation the root of all evil?
Smarter Child: Is regulation? I think so.

Trains and Broadband [Verizon “PolicyBlog”]
PREVIOUSLY: Verizon Spins Causing Electrical Fire During FiOs Install Into Sales Pitch


Edit Your Comment

  1. Not Alvis says:

    … wut?

    Posting yourself messing with a chatbot?

    Is Consumerist hitting the bottle early this weekend?

  2. Triborough says:

    I used to know one of Verizon’s PR flacks. He was an asshole. This is not a shock.

  3. leprendun says:

    This way way funnier than it should have been.

  4. I’ve never heard Adderall used as a verb. Thank you Carey.

  5. zentex says:

    am I the only one who ‘doesn’t get’ this posting?

  6. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    oh man, I LOVE smarterchild. Try flirting with him, it’s the best.

  7. dragon:ONE says:

    Aaaaaaah yes, the Smarterchild days of my younger me.
    Why the hell does it ignore me now, and why does it seem like it gets dumber and dumber each day?

  8. Casey says:

    This is hilarious! Haha.

  9. ajlei says:

    Oh god, I remember the advent of SmarterChild. So much hilarity ensued in those days..

  10. demonspawn says:

    While I appreciate the sentiment in the article, the Verizon Blog post that you’re responding to is over a year old. Not exactly up-to-the-minute commentary!

  11. kenboy says:

    I’ve actually had some luck interacting with him on the policy blog, specifically about the issue of when FIOS would add MSNBC in my town. There have also been some useful discussions about why exactly it is FIOS can’t get MSG in HD, and what exactly they’re doing about it.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s not as bad as you’re suggesting it is; further, I’m not aware that other similar companies — Comcast? Time Warner? — are doing anything like it at at all.

    • PhiTauBill says:

      @kenboy: Why is it that they can’t get MSG in HD? And what exactly are they doing about. Can they collect some naked pictures of the Jim Dolan?

      A Frustrated FIOS-subscribing Rangers Fan…

  12. Martin65 says:

    Well, just to clarify – I can, and do use Verizon’s Rev A EVDO product to video conference (iChat AV) from moving vehicles and it works just fine, except on the NJ Turnpike near 495 where it constantly drops to GPRS or so.

  13. JohnMc says:

    Well shucks what did you expect? Like any typical Corp, Verizon only permits certain individuals to do their public speaking. So what do you get? A nearly brain dead human whose sole attribute is the ability to spit out stupidity with a straight face.


  14. tedyc03 says:

    Carey’s last day is this weekend I think. Let the man post what he wants. Not to mention this was funny as hell.

  15. I say, lets find an impartial 5-7 year old, and do this same interview.

  16. AgentTuttle says:

    There’s got to be a way to get it to self destruct.

  17. huginn says:

    this needs to be a new feature here.

    Hell I could make a blog on this concept on its own

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @huginn: I would love to see this as a regular feature! Maybe for the next one, pit SC against a telemarketer in real time (though it would require some quick typing)?

  18. wcnghj says:

    The Amtrak Downeaster from Portland, ME to Boston has free wifi the whole trip, provided by Sprint.

  19. SunnyLea says:

    I’m not sure what I think about Verizon, but I now know I could entertain myself all day with SmarterChild conversations. Best part?

    Smarter Child: My name is SmarterChild!

  20. I remember this chat with the ALICE bot:

    Human: What is your IQ?
    ALICE: My IQ is about 250 in human terms.
    Human: Bullshit.
    ALICE: You don’t believe me.
    Human: Nope.
    ALICE: Me either.

  21. silver-bolt says:

    Th mtrk nnncmnt nd Vrzn’s brtng t s jst 5 dys shy f bng YR ld. Cldn’t y hv fnd rcnt pstng?

    • Nofsdad says:

      @silver-bolt: Don’t you have anything to do besides criticize someone else’s blog content on the basis of your own perception of its relevancy based on currency?

      You thought it was important enough to plop your two adjusted for inflation cents worth into it.