Verizon Sues Time Warner Over Misleading Ad... Has To Drop Its Own Misleading Ad

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Remember earlier this year when Verizon Wireless sued competitor Alltel Wireless for false advertising? That came right after the company had been fined for false advertising itself -- and the suit basically ignored the fact that Alltel's ad was accurate until Verizon Wireless (just a couple months earlier) had changed its policy. Now it looks like Verizon Wireless' parent company is doing something similar. Broadband Reports points us to the news that Verizon is suing Time Warner Cable over an incredibly dopey ad that suggests in a very misleading manner that Verizon's FiOS fiber optic offering was just catching up to Time Warner's use of fiber (confusing fiber in the network with fiber to the home) and also suggesting that FiOS-TV requires a satellite dish (which is simply untrue -- though, the company does offer satellite TV service for areas that can't get FiOS yet). Still, it does seem a bit aggressive to sue over this.

And, this situation is made even more amusing by the fact that Verizon itself just got caught running misleading advertising. In this case, Verizon credits CNET "experts" with claiming that FiOS is "near-flawless," which is taken entirely out of context. CNET's article wasn't a review, but about the service, and the context was: "This fierce competition reinforces how important it is for Verizon to offer a near-flawless TV experience." In other words, CNET was saying that FiOS TV needs to be near-flawless to compete -- not that it is. To its credit, Verizon admits that it was wrong in using the phrase in advertising, and won't be using those ads after its initial run is done next month. It also claims that TWC's ads are much more egregious, though I'm not sure that's true. It's quite easy for anyone investigating their options to understand that TWC's claims are false. But it may be much more difficult to confirm whether or not CNET's review really called FiOS "near flawless." Either way, these are industries that have a long history of stretching the truth as far as it can go in advertising messages. It makes you wonder if anyone takes either of their commercials seriously.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 11:52pm

    fierce stupidity

    the ad that I saw, said nothing or implied nothing about satellite.

    and the only thing it suggested in comparing cable to verizon is that verizon has just started to use fiber in their network, while TWC has been using it for a decade.
    it never suggested fiber to the home, and never even hinted anything near a satellite dish.

    so.. uh.. verizon basically just cant deal with competition. which, hints to me, that they are doing far worse than they admit to the public eye


    and besides, i havn't heard any news about TWC's fiber catching homes on fire

     

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  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Apr 11th, 2008 @ 12:15am

    Re: fierce stupidity

    the ad that I saw, said nothing or implied nothing about satellite.

    There's a longer version of the ad that has the satellite part:

    http://www.timewarnercable.com/MediaLibrary/4/50/Content%20Management/HomePage/Reskin%20Vid eo/Fiber%2060%20SEC%203%2018%20VERS.swf

    Where it does imply that you need a satellite dish (which is true for most Verizon customers right now).

    But... yeah... I agree. Verizon complaining about this is pretty silly.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: fierce stupidity

    Ok, yea, that ad fills in the whole. still true nonetheless, satellite for TV is pretty much still required. ((and worthless IMO, ... stormy area, no TV during prime time))

     

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  4.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 1:06am

    Why show the ad at all?

    Verizon admits that it was wrong in using the phrase in advertising, and won't be using those ads after its initial run is done next month.

    Translation: "yeah we know the ad is misleading but what the hell were going to use it anyway, just to, you know, mislead people"

    If James bond were faced with a ticking timer counting down to an event a month in the future, he'd continue flossing, sort through his junk mail and defrost the fridge before he bothered discussing it with MI6

    How pathetic are Verizon that they can't react within a month?

     

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  5.  
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    MIchael G, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Who cares...

    Aren't they making enough money to really care. Lets move on to some better stories.

     

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  6.  
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    Glenn Charles, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 4:20am

    ...You mean some advertising is true? But then misleading isn't an exact synonym for false. I keep forgetting that...
    --Glenn

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    and just when i thought that marketing was the only thing warner could get right

     

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  8.  
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    Bobbknight, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:03am

    Cable and Satellite

    I want FIOS
    I have had Satellite TV yes it does suffer from poor reception during heavy storms. But when I had Satellite TV I also had the ability to watch shows from both coasts. If I missed it from the east coast, I got it from the west coast.
    I liked that.

     

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  9.  
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    Nasch, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:40am

    Re: Why show the ad at all?

    Here's the translation I think: "yeah we know the ad is misleading but we already paid for the initial run and we'll be damned if we're going to let that money go to waste."

     

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  10.  
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    klein3351f, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    No to FIOS

    I have Time Warner at the moment for TV and Internet and have been happy with the service, if not the cost.

    Here's how my relationship to FIOS has gone...
    1. Heard about it and researched what it was.
    2. Started seeing ads for it and got really excited that I could get it!!!
    3. Figured surely they wouldn't be advertising it in my locale if it wasn't available there.
    4. Found out it wasn't available there.
    5. Also found out that the prices they advertise on the commercials bear NO resemblance to what you'll eventually pay after the first x-number of months.
    6. Also found out that people who already have it were having major difficulties in finding out how much they would be paying for it.
    7. Slowly but surely began hating Verizon and FIOS and now change the channel whenever I see a FIOS commercial, because it doesn't pertain to me!

    Congratulations, Verizon!

     

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  11.  
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    Eric, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    People are Dumb

    "It's quite easy for anyone investigating their options to understand that TWC's claims are false."

    While quite easy to do, it's not what 'normal' people will do. I find in tech news / blogs that the techies seem to forget that users never RTFM. Users do not read, users do not research, users do not understand. Thus why IT workers have a job. I know enough to use Help, they don't. Users do not research, and even if they DID they probably wouldn't understand it anyway.

     

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  12.  
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    Iron Chef, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity

    satellite for TV is pretty much still required. ((and worthless IMO, ... stormy area, no TV during prime time))

    I think you
    1.) Have bought in the marketing machine of your local cableco.

    2.) Don't understand that over 90% of tv programming is actually originated from satellite. (Drive by your local headend, and I guarantee that you'll see a small farm of dishes)

    It'd be interesting if cable utilized all it's 42Mhz-1GHz cable in a fully digital method. For a moment, think about what the overall throughput be, it's the equivalent of 158 standard analog channels. The recent 700MHz spectrum was the equivalent to roughly 7 (of 158) standard analog channels, but this spectrum is still available to the CableCo.

    I imagine total consumable data would be greater on the RF-based system until the Fiber guys find some a cost-effective way to get multi-wavelength unmultiplexing CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) to the house.

    But returning to your point, we've been using satellite since 1995 and it's only gone out 10 times (in a 13 year span!) Much less than what we experienced with cable.

    And when it does go out, the weather is so bad that trees are falling down, fences are blowing away, and if the TV was on, it'd probably blow up from a nearby lightning strike, so it's unplugged.

    Sure sat may not work all the time, but in the times it doesn't work, the last thing we're concerned about is watching TV.

     

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  13.  
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    Mr. Vage, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity

    Really? You only lost satellite service 10 times in 13 years? Where do you live?

    I had satellite for a couple of years. The signal would become poor under heavy clouds. If it was raining hard, the signal would usually be gone entirely. The snow was the worst. The signal was gone until we cleaned out the dish. It was really annoying because we couldn't watch TV at the times that people watch the most TV (when we can't go out).

    We switched to digital cable as soon as it was available. Now the only times we lose service if a falling branch breaks the line. I wouldn't go back to satellite if you paid me.

     

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  14.  
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    Iron Chef, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity

    I am real lost on where the stories of lost service is coming from.

    Maybe there's a difference between the output power of each satellite in orbit. Maybe the low end set top boxes don't perform as well as the high end. Use existing cabling? That can affect quality too. Hmm. Oh well.

     

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  15.  
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    William Cintron, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 12:29pm

    VERIZON SUES TIME WARNER!!!

    I do agree that these misleading claims do what they are intended and that is to get customers and generate more revenue for them. Verizon has a nice cash flow and who wouldn't like to make their bottom line more lucrative or attractive. You say to your self does Verizon need all these new offerings? They certainly werent suffering prior to Fios internet and Fios tv but I guess they need a reason to spend those billions in profits in un necessary innovations. Let's see cable, satellite tv, internet tv and now telco tv - What more do we need? I can see if these new services were needed from Verizon but they aren't - just a way to siphon off customers from the other companies. If you ask me personally I am a former cable customer and now a satellite customer but I am satisfied with the latter. I don't have a real need to switch to expensive Fios tv. And they are raising their rates faster than you can blink your eyes. Note
    : the service is only two years old. Plus, they have been called the company of creative fees. They have more installation and fees than any company I know. Let's get to the point - Verizon Fios tv is nearly "flawless" - If I saw that endorsement from well respected C/NET - It would make me pick up the telephone and generate a sale for verizon. Case in point!

     

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  16.  
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    William Cintron, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    VERIZON SUES TIME WARNER!!!

    I do agree that these misleading claims do what they are intended and that is to get customers and generate more revenue for them. Verizon has a nice cash flow and who wouldn't like to make their bottom line more lucrative or attractive. You say to your self does Verizon need all these new offerings? They certainly werent suffering prior to Fios internet and Fios tv but I guess they need a reason to spend those billions in profits in un necessary innovations. Let's see cable, satellite tv, internet tv and now telco tv - What more do we need? I can see if these new services were needed from Verizon but they aren't - just a way to siphon off customers from the other companies. If you ask me personally I am a former cable customer and now a satellite customer but I am satisfied with the latter. I don't have a real need to switch to expensive Fios tv. And they are raising their rates faster than you can blink your eyes. Note
    : the service is only two years old. Plus, they have been called the company of creative fees. They have more installation and fees than any company I know. Let's get to the point - Verizon Fios tv is nearly "flawless" - If I saw that endorsement from well respected C/NET - It would make me pick up the telephone and generate a sale for verizon. Case in point!

     

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  17.  
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    Anarchy_Creator, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Whatever...

    Someone Needs To Be Suing TWC Over Their Data Packet Shaping, And False Advertisement About Their Cable Internet Service.
    Why The Fuck Should I Pay $65+ A Month For A 10mb Internet Connection That I Can Only Use For HTTP, SMTP, And POP3?!
    I Can't Even Download A Fucking Linux ISO From BitTorrent, Or Any Other P2P Program/Protocol At More Then 10-30KBps Thanks To TWC's Traffic Shaping.
    For The Less Then Tech Savvy 10 Megabits = 1.25 Megabytes A Second Download Speeds.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity :Iron Chef

    uh... i work for the cableco, hence my comments.

    and yea, we use satellite, but on a much grander scale. redundancy covers 2 states, if its storming in one area, to a point where that headend cant get feed, it switches to redundancy and gets the same feed from another headend, and then another, and then another, only until all 20ish 'satellite farms' are completely used up, will it then switch to a fiber feed from another division, which, ive never even seen it switch to a double redundancy. so basically, its covered.
    my comparison was the fact that for an individual satellite customer who wants to watch during a storm, they don't have 2 states worth of satellite dishes to cover with, they've just got the one 18" dish on the back of their porch.


    but anyway, im glad you live in Cali, where the weather never changes.

    oh, and another fyi, since youve been out of the loop for 13 years, you may want to read up on cable again.

    1gz spectrum, integrated fiber, digital feed, supports ~900 simultaneous channels. adding switched digital (which, i do not know of any cableco that dosn't use that yet, heck, even most of the mom&pop shops use it) you can more than triple the output. and then with simulcast, analog customers arnt left out, but are ofcourse limited to the maximum capacity of their tv.


    but i used to be a satellite fanatic, until i started working for the cableco. and got my cable, and that first friday when i sat down to watch my shows in the middle of the season, i was taken, i was able to watch 3 hours worth of shows without the rain killing the feed. then the beer took effect, and i passed out on the couch, don't remember what happend after that

     

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  19.  
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    Iron Chef, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity :Iron Chef

    but anyway, im glad you live in Cali, where the weather never changes.

    Not quite, but I have family there. It'll be weird when the big earthquake comes.

    we use satellite, but on a much grander scale.

    Great! So you know about Comcast's HITS.

    redundancy covers 2 states, if its storming in one area, to a point where that headend cant get feed, it switches to redundancy and gets the same feed from another headend, and then another, and then another, only until all 20ish 'satellite farms' are completely used up, will it then switch to a fiber feed from another division, which, ive never even seen it switch to a double redundancy. so basically, its covered.

    I accidentally took a dirt road to the DirecTV uplink center in Castle Rock, Colorado. I was amazed it was only 3 miles from my house. Maybe I should have worked for them. Anyways, your analysis leads me to believe you are familiarized with DirecTV's uplink center in El Segundo too. That's awesome.

    my comparison was the fact that for an individual satellite customer who wants to watch during a storm, they don't have 2 states worth of satellite dishes to cover with, they've just got the one 18" dish on the back of their porch.

    Now, AC, you missed the point of my post- who cares if TWISTER is on TV when you can see the real thing?

    i used to be a satellite fanatic, until i started working for the cableco. and got my cable, and that first friday when i sat down to watch my shows in the middle of the season, i was taken, i was able to watch 3 hours worth of shows without the rain killing the feed.

    Sorry to say it, but again, your missing the point of my commentary-- It doesn't matter about the technology. Take a few minutes and think about it..

    Here's an example, do you honestly think customers care if it goes through 15 transducers and 7 re-encoding engines before it goes to a fiber link where it's re-encoded to aLAW at 12kb/s over a CDMA air interface syncronized via GPS where, due to cell breathing, you may be served on cellid 8477. From there, the mobile terminal will re-encode the signal into a 65kb/s aLAW stream, all via an NPANXX allocated to ratecenter CMTNGRDN and CLLI SNANCAPCCM3?

    No! Not at all! I don't give a shit what you had to do to give me service. Quit thinking that adds value, because they don't! These are YOUR terms, not mine!

    The real question that should be asked is missed- "What can a company deliver to our customers 99.999% of the time and reduce variables through the process?"

    Yikes!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 10:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity :Iron Chef

    No! Not at all! I don't give a shit what you had to do to give me service. Quit thinking that adds value, because they don't! These are YOUR terms, not mine!
    The real question that should be asked is missed- "What can a company deliver to our customers 99.999% of the time and reduce variables through the process?"


    yea, i thought of it, one cloud in the sky, and ah crap, theres goes espn.
    id rather live in a $100k home that has a sturdy floor, then a $100k home that will risk me falling though the floor just b/c i decided to take my 6pack in the living room.

    thats my variable, same cost between the 2, but one, dosn't go out on a cloudy day. and i have awesome ondemand

    13 years of useing satellite, 11 years of dish network, and 2 years of directtv. 3 years of cable.
    satellite=80% reliability (any weather other than sunny caused downtime)
    cable = 99.999% reliability. (total of 1 hour downtime in the 3 years (power outage))

    and thats speaking as a customer, those are my personal figures from my own experiences with it, working for a cableco had no factor

     

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  21.  
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    Iron Chef, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fierce stupidity :Iron Chef

    yea, i thought of it, one cloud in the sky, and ah crap, theres goes espn.

    Huh? Wow. I knew I was born yesterday, I just didn't know you could tell.

    I'm glad you enjoy onDemand. It's pretty slick! But if that was truly the case, I am sure people would be quite unsatisfied. But a little research leads me to believe that possibly the opposite is happening.

    2007
    http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2007137

    2 006
    http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pdf/2006135.pdf

    2005
    http://www.jdpa.com/new s/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005117

    But I digress.

     

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  22.  
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    Matt Bennett, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    There's a comcast ad, drives me nuts (also, I just happen to really hate Comcast) that makes fun of FIOS. Comcast claims to have the "largest fiber network" and then makes fun of people who think FIOS great. Of course, I'm sure Comcast does have the largest network, but none of it goes to the home, which is a pretty big freaking difference.

     

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  23.  
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    Bob, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 4:13pm

    Re: fierce stupidity

    The TWC commercials always annoyed me for their attitude and boloney.I am a retired Verizon employee.I worked for many years both as an outside tech,and later as a CO carrier tech.As a splicer,my group was involved in wiring whole areas in NYC with fiber to the curb service back in the very early 1990's.This brought digital service to the pole at the house,where it changed back to analog.This was before TWC had any fiber that we were aware of.Verizon was also running fiber directly to customers that invested in it for their private networks.There were also other fiber systems put into operation ,providing phone service for tens of thousands of customers.C.O.to C.O fiber rings have also been in operation for at least 15-20 years.

     

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  24.  
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    Jack Frost, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 11:34pm

    Fios is DEAD

    Verizon just bankrupt!

     

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  25.  
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    Steve, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 8:44pm

    False Advertising?

    What Time Warner Says Is True Fiber Feeds Have Been Around For Over 15 Years.(Just As Verizon Has Done In Their C.O.S) Although They Do Not Offer Fiber To The Prem. The R.F. Network Can Still Bring The Same Speeds Through Upgrades. Verizon Also Does Not Say That They Charge 500.00 To Fix The Fiber(or glass)Line If It Becomes Damaged (By Moving Your Jack Ect.) Time Warner Does Not Have A Fiber Connection Directly To The Home They Use RF (cable)So It's Free. Why Does Verizon Charge This Price? Fiber Is Very Expensive. That's Why I Stay With The Time Warner Folks.

     

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  26.  
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    alex reynolds, Apr 29th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    verizon is false

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Its Verizon who should be sued for their incessant fios commercials. As a matter of fact, Ive called cablevision asking them to pull all fios commercials off the air. This is the same big bad pots company that wanted to have voip rates increased and one of the companies being sued for wiretapping us. Their fios commercials are misleading because in no way, shape or form is fios internet better than cable. I get 30mbps cable and verizon cant match that. Even if they could, I have serious ethical and privacy issues with them. Anyone interested in democracy should NEVER choose Verizon.

     

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


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