Before this week, there was already substantial doubt about Vonage's IPO prospects. The company's s-1 did not look promising; profitability will be distant, if it comes at all. Then, yesterday it announced that it was giving its customers a chance to buy into the IPO. Though they made it seem like they just wanted to give back to the customers who have helped them get where they are, it was seen as a real sign that there is lack of institutional interest in the company's IPO. Today, the story gets even worse, as they appear to be engaging in the first case of VoIP stock spam as a way of pushing their stock on customers. The company sent out mass voicemails (and emails) encouraging customers to participate in the stock purchase plan. Considering the legitimate fears that people have about an explosion in VoIP spam, and the inevitable comparisons to penny-stock spam scams, the move makes the company look like it's not ready for the big leagues. The action could also prompt some unwanted SEC scrutiny, which already has a beef against founder Jeffrey Citron relating to, yes, a stock scam. Furthermore, they risk alienating their customers who have more alternatives every day. Before a company goes public, it needs to convince investors that they're strong and stable; if this deal is going to go through they have a lot of explaining to do.
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