Vonage IPO Funny Business, Or Buyer's Remorse?

from the gordon-gekko-never-got-treated-like-this dept

Vonage's IPO earlier this week tanked, posting the worst first-day decline for a stock since 2004. In addition to the company's ongoing business challenges, the stock drop also raises the possibility of shareholder lawsuits becoming another headache for the company. The company already got dinged for a minor technical violation in the IPO spam it sent its customers, but now, there's a minor uproar on some Vonage message boards regarding the allocation of shares. Some users report that the Vonage IPO web site showed that they weren't allocated any shares, only to check back after the stock nose-dived to find they had been sold shares. One rather vociferous poster who claims to have been allocated 1300 shares after initially being told on the site they gotten none, says they would have "watched the market" had they known they owned the shares and "maybe" would have chosen to sell. It's unclear what's really happened here, as the posters complaining of the problem say they're waiting to hear back from their brokers for any resolution. It's hard to imagine that given the attention this IPO received and the company founder's history with the SEC that it would intentionally get up to any shenanigans. With the way the stock has fallen, one almost can't help but wonder if these people simply trying to back out of a bad investment. The IPO craze of the last dot-com bubble fuelled the idea that any initial public offering (particularly of a tech company) means a huge first-day pop and the chance to turn a quick buck -- something that isn't always the case. Add in the fact that you have people investing based on that misinformed viewpoint and their experience as customers, rather than any investment insight, and it's not hard to see how some might be feeling their fingers burned.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Bum, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:10am

    It's because of Shenanigans

    I continue to buy gold.

     

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  2.  
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    Inquizitave Investor, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:24am

    Re: It's because of Shenanigans

    How do your think their 10-K is going to look?

     

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  3.  
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    Curtis Breuker, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Who would buy the stock anyways?

    The company has never made profit even though they report having well over a million customers and over $250,000,000 in sales. And now with Skype offering some free voip... lol its not looking good for vonage.

     

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  4.  
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    Coward, May 26th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Re: Who would buy the stock anyways?

    Vonage is a replacement for your current phone line. Skype makes you talk through your computer. I like to walk around my house with phone in hand and it's a lot cheaper than any VOIP that cable companies are offering.

    It's a just matter of time before they do turn a profit.

     

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  5.  
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    VPR, May 26th, 2006 @ 11:33am

    Vontage has been really good to me personally. I remember the days of the occasional drop in quality & that, if anything, was just a growing pain every tech business like it has at some point.

    I've also noticed a pickup of telcos offering VoIP services. At the same time I've also watched Vontage expand up to the recent - free to Italy, France, Spain, UK and Ireland (if you have an unlimited plan). They're growing & I'm glad to be a part of them.

    I've also received the SPAM from them. The wife & I did consider it to be honest. With what's going on with them though I think this one will be watch from the sidelines.

    There will be opportunities for Vonage to shine. VoIP's growth is expected to be robust. TeleGeography expects the number of VoIP subscribers to grow to 9.6 million by the end of 2006 and 23.7 million by 2010, from 5.5 million at the end of March. As long as Vonage can keep its business financially viable, there's little doubt that it could find ways to maintain a healthy slice of the market. Whether or not it can keep its leadership position intact as the cable companies, in particular, gain ground is another question altogether though.


    I really hope they bounce as many pray they do.

     

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  6.  
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    pound, May 26th, 2006 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    WTF is Vontage ?

     

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  7.  
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    Adam Zey, May 26th, 2006 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Who would buy the stock anyways?

    Skype doesn't make you talk through a computer. One can purchase adapters that allow any telephone to be used with Skype (such as a cordless phone to let you walk around your house), phones designed to work with Skype such as Linksys' CIT200 cordless phone (of the bevy of other skype corded phones). Perhaps the most exciting upcoming product is NetGear's WiFi skype phone, which will allow you to call skype without any computer at all, from any WiFi network (be it at home or a hotspot on the road).

    It still isn't a phone line replacement (No 911 service, not completely seemless replacement), but the limitations you complain of don't exist. A cordless Skype phone plus a pay-as-you-go cellphone for 911 service might be just the ticket.

     

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  8.  
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    Topher3105, May 26th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    I will tell you what I regret

    Vonage is a product of overhyped marketing and too much of this kind of reporting and online speculation.

    I had Primus Canada Talkbroadband. I was paying $29.95 a month for unlimited North American calling. It had all the bells and whistles you can get on a phone line, caller ID, voice mail, call transfer, etc, etc, etc. Also, you can create a BLOCK calls list, have "timeout periods" where the phone won't ring at certain times of the day, or ring another phone, etc. It also sent you an email when you get voice mail WITH the wav file attached.

    So, all was fine with Primus until they dinged me with a $25 NSF charge because my credit card was maxed out for probably 5 minutes one day. I had paid off my credit card, but the bank took too long to get balance settled and it just happend that Primus decided to try and charge my card. Rater then doing something human like try again a few hours later, or contact the individual to get the right details, they just added $25 to my account. I didn't like that and decided to go to Vonage.

    I went to Vonage because of all the hype and hoopla over it. I like the idea I could go to Best Buy and get a pair of WiFi phones and router geared towards Vonage, Primus only offers their own DLink router which was a pain in the ass to set up. I got Vonage's $19.95 500 minute plan (I didn't need more then 500 minutes calling a month) and thought I was going to be happy.

    Then the telemarketing calls started coming in, around 10 a day. I swear that Vonage probably sells off phone numbers all their new customers. Then I find out Vonage doesn't offer call blocking. Second, Vonage will send you an email if you get voicemail, but won't send you a wav file (even though I think they offer the option in voicemail setup). They charge you per minute billing, so a 5 second call rings up a 1 minute thus significantly eating away at your 500 minute plans. Also, Vonage has called me about 6 times since I got their service for stupid messages like "Give us a call and we will guide you through all the features Vonage has to offer". This is just an effort to eat up your monthly minutes quicker. And BTW, I did the math and Vonage doesn't call you with their free "In Networking" minutes. Vonage doesn't use their own service for calls.

    On the whole Vonage is a very INFERIOR VOIP provider. Its almost like they are flying by the seat of their pants. Despite having over a years head start over Primus, Primus has a significantly better service, is cheaper, and except for a few quirks, is the company I should have stayed with.

    So, for now, I am staying with Vonage for 90 days so I can get a rebate on the phone/router I bought, and then I am switching back to Primus.

    BTW, Vonage and Primus both use adapters so you can use your regular phones using VOIP, you don't have to go through the computer. I won't buy into Skype because its just hype that begins with Skunk.

     

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  9.  
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    Tim Arview, May 26th, 2006 @ 9:19pm

    A great Vonage commercial

    The irony here is that this story would make a great Vonage commercial. You know, the ones where they play "Woohoo" while some kid hits his grandma with a baseball bat or whatever. They always follow it up with "people do stupid things." They could include their own faux pas' to better support their claim. Heh.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2006 @ 12:31am

    Re: I will tell you what I regret

    "This is just an effort to eat up your monthly minutes quicker. And BTW, I did the math and Vonage doesn't call you with their free "In Networking" minutes. Vonage doesn't use their own service for calls."

    You may wanna review your math inbound calls are free aka Vonage isn't a cell phone.

     

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  11.  
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    William C Bonner, May 27th, 2006 @ 9:07am

    Re: I will tell you what I regret

    I've been using the cheap plan on vonage for a couple of years now. I recommend vonage to friends more for the features than for the price. I get .wav files emailed to me whenever I get voice mail. I can have my cell phone ring at the same time as my vonage phone, and answer either one. I can go visit my parents in anther state for a couple of weeks, and take my phone with me, or go to house sit for a friend (cat and dog sit) for a couple of weeks and take my phone with me. I get callerID, Call Waiting, and Voice mail, all for cheaper than my local telco will offer me a bare line.

    There are other voip features that I'd like added, but I'm not overly concerned. Incoming calls are free, I've never used more than my 500 minutes, and I generally only answer calls that I recognize callerID anyway.

     

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  12.  
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    Sean, May 27th, 2006 @ 8:27pm

    Re: I will tell you what I regret

    Wow, don't know how all that happened. I've never received a phone call from Vonage, or a single telemarketing phone call.

     

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  13.  
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    Jasper Jones, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 2:30pm

    Re: I will tell you what I regret

    This fool is probably one of the most ignorant Ive seen in a long time. Yes, Vonage uses its own service and the calls are probably an effort to help people who didnt understand how to do things like set up voice mail (does that ring a bell genius?)

     

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  14.  
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    JULIE KUETHER, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 8:41am

    VONAGE SUCKS

    VONAGE IS THE WORST. HOUR HOLD TIMES NO ANSWERES TO PROBLEMS. IT NEVER WORKED. 30 MINUTE HOLD TIMES TO CANCEL SERVICE. IT IS THE WORST COMPANY. DO NOT SIGN UP. TOTAL NIGHTMARE!

     

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  15.  
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    Cyryl, Aug 1st, 2006 @ 11:56pm

    Umm... Idiots are obviously not in short supply i

    First of all... I will say that Vonage HAS pissed me off a few times.

    1.) Every time I call for any kind of assistance I ALWAYS get a Haji. That pisses me off because I can't understand a fucking thing they are saying. Anymore I tell them right off the bat, "Look... No offense but if you can't speak ENGLISH then we can't work with this. Transfer me to someone who can. DON'T WASTE MY TIME." Just like reps at AOL or any of those fading ISP's...they want to argue the point. I lay it down HARD without hesitation and they snap to.

    I don't negotiate. I pay you; YOU GIVE ME WHAT I ASK FOR. That's how it works, goddamnit. (Don't give me any shit about being an ass to them, either. I've done several years of retail and tech support. I've been on both sides of the tracks. I've taken my licks. I simply know how to HANDLE these situations. By NOT ARGUING WITH THE CUSTOMER.)

    2.) Vonage DOES tend to have certain little issues that are actually small for the most part. But the problem is that they pile up and once in a while the issues interfere with your daily life at the wrong time. For instance...

    CALLER ID
    -------------
    It doesn't work sometimes. More than once that has proven an inconvenience when I am too busy to be taking random calls or am waiting for a certain individual to call. At those times I just don't have time for BULLSHIT. Yet here I am taking a call and can't just seem to get the point across to the person on the other end of the phone that I DON'T WANT TO TALK. So I get blunt and they get offended. Oh well. Blame it on Vonage.

    What pisses me off is that I have called them THREE TIMES now to fix this issue. Each time they 'fix' it. Things seem to work. And yet a couple of months later the same shit happens.

    PHONE NOT RINGING
    ---------------------------
    That's right. Sometimes the phone simply DOESN'T RING. Just the other day my alarm didn't go off. The owner of the business I am the ASSISTANT MANAGER for tried to call me about half an hour after I was to have been there. The phone NEVER rang. In fact... I got a MESSAGE from him in my voice mail around the time he said he called. But the caller ID didn't register ANY calls during that morning NOR did the call ever show up in the call logs in my account. (I SEARCHED the entire log page by page using software. It WASN'T THERE.)

    This problem seems to be occuring more and more often. It's starting to piss me off. For all of the trouble that lack of caller ID does cause me... NOT getting the call AT ALL is actually just WORSE.

    3.) I was a little MORE than pissed off when they offered their BULLSHIT IPO - THROUGH VOICE MAIL. The voicemail servers back then were excrutiatingly slow no matter WHERE I would log into my Vonage account from. (i.e. It wasn't MY connection. It was THEIRS.) When I log into my voicemail I expect to get it quick and fast. I am not a man with much time seeing as how I have my own consultation business AND help to run another as the Asst. Mgr. I don't want to click on a voicemail wondering who the hell it is JUST to find that Vonage decided to send us a minute-long message about an IPO that NO ONE is going to care about to begin with. OTHER phone providers don't send you spam voicemail. (Qwest, Time Warner, AT&T, etc...) Vonage tries to mimic a landline and yet they do something INCREDIBLY STUPID that sets them apart from the rest of the industry. (Good goin', Vonage. Morons.)

    It SERIOUSLY pissed me off. I was on the phone rippin' Haji apart LIMB FROM LIMB as soon as I heard it. Apparently I was one of THOUSANDS of people calling for the same reason. They had to quickly throw together an impromptu DO-NOT-CALL list because of it. I was added.

    I'm actually happy (not to mention surprised...) to report that I have not receieved any more marketing calls. Points for Vonage.

    Which brings me to the contrast of this thread.

    Vonage DOES offer a very good package of features for the buck. I'm a little ticked off that they ended up charging taxes as of MAY06. But what can ya do? They rape my account for $4 more dollars every month. But I get free long distance, voicemail (which works better/faster nowadays), three-way, etc. (You've heard phone company commercials. You know the drill.)

    Not to mention the IMMEDIATE results I received after I set up the account. I was up and running with my new phone line within 15 minutes. The system DOES work. Sometimes you just have to expect that you might have difficulties. That's TECHNOLOGY for you. In case you newbies out there with your rants didn't know... Technology has a mind of it's own.

    When I DO get a competent, ENGLISH-INSIDE individual... They're GOOD. I had one young man help me with an issue involving packet loss from the PAP2 adapter at one point. He was a BRILLIANT young man. Turns out that the firmware they uploaded to the adapter had switched the phone port from port 1 to 2 for some reason and the server wasn't properly synched with that. The PAP2 box alternated between ports 1 and 2 with a certain percentage of data packets. Interesting. But he let me in on ALL of the info on how the servers worked and how their system was analyzing the situation. He called me back several times until we had it fixed.

    Good shit.

    It's nice to also be able to run 2 phone lines through a single box. It's a great modular solution. I never got my rebate on that thing...but who's complaining? For $50 I don't have to hire a phone company to run phone lines in this OLD BUILDING I'm based in. *shrugs* You take the good with the bad.

    Unless you're maxing out your bandwidth because you're downloading all of that porn/music/movies and you don't know how to MANAGE your bandwidth, the phone line runs PERFECTLY with the highest voice-packet quality setting enabled in the PAP2 adapter. Even with both lines running at the same time.

    So you idiots out there who just want to start an anti-Vonage crusade... Get bent. You didn't try the technology out very long, obviously. You have no real experience to base your stupid, inferior-minded opinions on. You certainly DON'T have any reason to comment on ANYTHING in the industry if you aren't taking into account the fact that Vonage is the first major player in this new VoIP industry. They ARE the pioneers. They've made mistakes but they've also had to break A LOT of new ground to learn what they have. They may go under. They may not. Only the next four quarters will show us.

    You just have to shut your mouth and let them either climb the ladder or shoot themselves in the foot - again.

    If you don't like the service, don't use it. But don't rant about it like JULIE KUETHER here. She gave NO constructive input WHATSOEVER. (By the way. Julie... SHUT YOUR HOLE.)

    If you're going to rant about it...TELL us something that will help us understand what is going on. WHY we SHOULD or SHOULDN'T use it. Be subjective and as unbiased as you can be.

    But most importantly...

    DON'T BE IGNORANT. Do the research. EXPERIENCE it. Don't just have a bad five minutes with it and then CRY TO THE WORLD about it.

    Goddamn n00bz anyway... *shakes head and leaves*

     

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  16.  
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    Jennifer Fader, Aug 10th, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    911?

    Just hope you have a working cellphone nearby if you have an an emergency - VoIP doesn't route to local 911 dispatchers, as the FCC is well aware. Not a problem -- till it's a BIG problem.

     

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  17.  
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    Cyryl, Aug 16th, 2006 @ 10:48pm

    Umm...

    You are WRONG.

    Vonage does IN FACT route calls to your local 911 dispatcher.

    You DO have to set it up, however. They STRESS that fact to you when you make your account. Several times.

    Then they REMIND you if you don't. SEVERAL TIMES.

    If you set it up over the phone they ASK you - SEVERL TIMES - to set up 911 dispatch during the account creation process. I set it up with my second line IMMEDIATELY over the phone.

    They even verify your information to make sure it's correct.

    All of this they do because the FCC MANDATED IT.

    Case and point: if you don't end up setting it up and you drop to the floor dying - it's because you're a FUCKING IDIOT and DIDN'T set it up like they STRESSED you to.

    So no. It's NOT a problem -- until you have a STROKE and you drop to the floor DYING and your last thought as you DIE in contorting, convulsive AGONY is, "Well FUCK. Ain't THAT about a BITCH!? I'm fucking STUPID and DIDN'T set up my 911 dispatch with Vonage - LIKE THEY NAGGED AT ME TO!"

    *DIES*

    Shut the hell up, Fader.

     

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  18.  
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    Larry Jenson, Sep 4th, 2006 @ 8:51am

    Vonage Issues

    Most of the positive VOIP reviews are by people selling the VOIP service. Even ezine editors work for companies selling the service. Noone else has time to write positive reviews about VOIP.

    I can see using Vonage (or other VOIP) if you are a lonely college student and you spend hours talking to your mom, but I cant justify using VOIP for business. The technology is unreliable.

    The biggest lesson I have learned in 28 years of business was "if you switch phone companies to save money, you will pay more than the amount you saved in some other way"

    What I experienced with VOIP:
    -----------------------------------------------------
    poor call clarity,
    echos,
    dropped calls,
    poor customer service,
    slow porting over of number,
    having to use other service when voip doesnt work,
    additional cell phone minutes use,
    paying for equipment that is supposed to be free, not getting the free month you were promised, spending time on the phone arguing with someone that isnt going to help you
    vonage blaming the cable company
    cable company blaming vonage
    lost time switching back to a land line - glad I did!
    risk of not getting your old phone number back

    Read all of the reviews and negative experiences that you can find too (many boards delete the negative comments because they sell voip). Check the competition also, if you really think this is for you.

    Dont port your phone number over until you know that the temporary number works.

    Read the fine print on the Vonage or other voip agreement (favors vonage, not you).

     

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  19.  
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    Hajjie Janget, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Umm... Idiots are obviously not in short supp

    Reeeeelaaaaaax

     

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  20.  
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    Tillie Quiring, Nov 18th, 2006 @ 6:31pm

    Extremely Poor Experience with Vonage

    Virtually no customer service; response came from
    a foreign country where we couldn't understand
    person
    Had to use cell phone when Vonage didn't work
    Had to pay for devices which were "free"
    Promised local prefix; told we had local prefix; friends
    reported paying long distance fees to call us
    Told that our friends were wrong; we had local
    prefix; Vonage lied
    Sent letter of cancellation; called in cancellation;
    Vonage illegally collected money from our credit
    card months after cancellation. We finally had to
    cancel the credit card
    VONAGE ONLY AS A LAST RESORT MY FRIENDS!!!!!

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous, May 3rd, 2007 @ 8:03pm

    Poor Customer Services

    The war in Iraq will be over before somebody from Vonage Customer Service answers a question right

     

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  22.  
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    Nick Neves Sr, Sep 10th, 2007 @ 8:15pm

    Ive tried signing in so many times.

    Ive tried signing in so many times,but they won>t except my email address or my password,and i would like to know why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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