Why Are ISPs Trying To Sell Cars And Homes?

from the diversification? dept

We all know that various broadband ISPs are trying to get away from being "just dumb pipes," by providing "value added services" that most people ignore, such as customizable home pages and email, but we had no idea that broadband providers like Time Warner and Cox are both pushing their own car selling websites as well. Plus, it appears that Cablevision is doing something similar with home sales. It seems likely that all of these companies are merely putting their brand on someone else's car lead generation service, but it really does seem like an odd service for these ISPs to be offering. While broadband providers eventually are going to have to get comfortable with the whole notion of being a dumb pipe, you'd still think that if they want to offer additional value added services, they'd at least work on things that actually were somewhat related to the broadband they were providing.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Network Neutrality

    And without network neutrality how long will it be before they start block access to competitors?

     

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  2.  
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    MrScott, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Right there! You nailed it! It's all about the all-mighty dollar!

    They'll get paid for every referral from their site when a car sells, so if they block access to a competitor, no competition. They get all the money.

    Hmmm. Didn't Microsoft do something similar to Netscape??? I smell a lawsuit not too far into the future.

     

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  3.  
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    gordo, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 7:00pm

    comcast too

    comcast does this in their "on demand". they have 2 sections, 1 for car shopping on demand, and the other for real estate. I have never used any of their websites, so I don't know if they have those.

     

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    Lutomes (profile), Jan 7th, 2008 @ 7:01pm

    Why Autos?

    I'm willing to bet that the reason the ISPs are going for the Auto industry (and real estate too), is because that is where the easy commissions and advertising dollars are.

    As an accountant, I've seen a weekly auto magazine pull in only a few hundred dollars of subscription revenue (most copies are given away as promos to dealers, mechanics & associatied individuals). Yet the business floats on massive advertising revenue from the other dealers, mechanics and finance companies paying through the nose for advertising space. Its quite bizzare to look at the concept.

    I agree though that even if they are just slapping their brand on another providers car sales commission page, its an odd move too. But hey, if someone there gets a bonus for generating a few dollars more sales who cares.

     

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  5.  
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    Nick, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    What you don't realize is that ISP's aren't trying to "get away from being just a dumb pipe"; they're trying to subsidize the rediculously low prices that consumers are demanding, by trying to generate secondary revenue streams.

     

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  6.  
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    Hellsvilla, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 7:31pm

    Can't they freakin learn?

    Didn't AOL already prove to everyone that you just simply CANNOT wall in your customers? I mean, sure, it worked until the unwashed masses discovered google, but now that the average joe knows how to use a search engine (even if he only knows about msn's search engine, he does know how to use it, and it does deliver functional results) the walled garden concept is history. It doesnt work on cell phones, it doesn't work on SPOTs, it doesn't work on game consoles, it just simply doesn't work.

    And for the love of all that is not dead yet, please ISPs, STOP installing malware on your customers computers to fuck with their browsers.

    And this next one is for all you jackasses who "brand" IE. STOP. You look like an ass when you do that. Don't do that. Not Now, Not NEVER. You are not "providing" IE, you are simply hacking your customers registry. That is not cool.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Re:

    What you don't realize is that ISP's aren't trying to "get away from being just a dumb pipe"; they're trying to subsidize the rediculously low prices that consumers are demanding, by trying to generate secondary revenue streams.

    What "rediculously [sic] low prices"? Their prices are mostly ridiculously high due to lack of competition which is in turn due to government protections.

     

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

  8.  
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    LBD, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 9:08pm

    Shesh

    Probablem with realestate sales online is, well.... HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S IN THE RIGHT FRIKEN PLACE TO GET MOST OF THE SEARCHERS.

     

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  9.  
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    in the industry, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 9:24pm

    Very very old...

    Cox has been selling cars for more than 8 years (that's just how long I've known). It's called diversification. Cox Communications owns Manheim, the largest wholesale auto auction company in the world (www.manheim.com). In addition to Manheim they also own Autotrader, and DentWizard. Definitely not "news" that a company in one industry is also in a completely different industry.

    You know ADT the home security company? They used to own about 30 wholesale car auctions until they sold half their operations to Cox and half to Adesa.

     

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  10.  
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    4-80-sicks, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    What you don't realize is that ISP's aren't trying to "get away from being just a dumb pipe"

    I think the writer does realize that. He wrote that ISPs are still "going to have to get comfortable with [that] notion." So, they're not trying to, but he advises them that they should be trying to, see?

     

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  11.  
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    Glo, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    selling homes, cars

    My own DSL service provider (QWest) pushes heavily "MSN Home Premium". I suppose the cretins with near zero sense of privacy and imagination take this "option".

    The good news is that QWest offers "partnership" with a large number of other, some "mom and pop" ISPs.

    Even better, QWest offers a "no ISP" option with their DSL. Alas, the price isn't better. It is the option I've chosen, however. In this day and age, there is no reason to have an ISP. All you really need is a "connectivity provider".

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    So I guess looking at new business models are just for things that are free?

     

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