Will Earthlink's New Strategy Lead To Its Own Breakup?

from the build-'em-up,-break-'em-down dept

If you look at Earthlink’s history, one thing that’s clear is they’re pretty much willing to try out anything. The company has always been aggressive in adding new technologies to its service. That’s why the company that started as a collection of dialup ISPs over time got into offering service via DSL, cable and even fixed wireless for a time. It’s also experimented with plenty of other technologies, including P2P and VoIP. The latest such move was announced earlier this week when they looked to partner with DirecTV and DISH to add satellite TV to their bundle of offerings. However, in the last few months, thanks in large part to the FCC ditching old line sharing rules, Earthlink has pushed heavily into the muni-WiFi space, believing it’s a good way to get around the telcos who might now try to stop one of their paths to customers. Yesterday, the company received plenty of attention for teaming up with Google to go after the San Francisco muni-WiFi project. With all of these different things going on, Om Malik has noticed that, for the most part, Wall Street hasn’t cared — and still values the company based on its old, dying dialup ISP business. This leads to Om’s prediction that the company will spin off the muni-WiFi efforts, to see if it can be valued at a higher rate. This is the type of thing that could make sense from the Wall St. point of view where they seem to hate businesses that have multiple lines that are valued very differently. It’s part of what leads to the “build ’em up, break ’em down” mentality of Wall Street (who, of course, gets fees at each step of the process). However, as we discussed in that link, these types of deals may be good for shareholders in the short-term, but kill off much of the strategic value for companies in the long term. Where it makes sense for a company trying to transition its business to invest in separate lines, Wall Street doesn’t seem to have the patience to understand that this actually does make sense, and would rather break things up and set them afloat alone immediately.

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Comments on “Will Earthlink's New Strategy Lead To Its Own Breakup?”

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Ex-Spring Head (user link) says:

Re: They had satellite before this

You’ve seen that commercial that start of as, “I’m one of EarthLink’s 2000 employees.”?

When I worked there, it was 4000. EarthLink ruined a perfectly good company in MindSpring, and and lot of other companies too…then it said FUCK AMERICA and closed all its state side call centers and outsourced to India. Their business model sucks and their contempt for their employees shows what they think of their customers.

They say Fuck America…I say FUCK EARTHLINK!

but I’m not bitter…really. 😛

harbingerofdoom says:

Re: Re: They had satellite before this

yeah yeah… there are plenty of people that can show up & say “earthlink runined this” or “Mindspring ruined that”. You folks that do that are all mindless sheep.
There were plenty of upper management types from both sides that were responsible for taking two solid companies and pretty much running them into the ground long enough to force the outsourcing decision.
What do you expect when you wait a full year before you decide that you dont need 9 call centers plus outsourcing?
Smurflink execs who were running things during the OneMain aquisition were the idiots who were really responsible for that.
and yes… their products are nothing more than repackaged existing products and their support structure blows. And I can say that from having the experience of working with a lot of the upper management and outsource centers

Ex-Sprin Head says:

Re: Re: Re: They had satellite before this

um…MindSpring didn’t ruin anything…in fact they were the only major dial up ISP to ever post a profit. This includes AOL. And they did it for like 2 years running. And they were only a public company for like 5 years.

As far as me being sheep…Baahahahah. I was there and I know how how it happenned. If you want to call me sheep like I’m uninformed or something, then your assuming things and thats your own mindlesness talking. Earthlink started fucking things up WAY before OneMain and OneMain was already fucked up WAAAYYYY before EarthLink got a hold of them. Too many domain names and none of them were structured…each region had separate DNS and none of the mail servers talked to each other. As far as acquisitions are concerned…Logistically, OneMain and EarthLink was like SBC and AT&T. It was destined to be fucked from the start.

But hey…I don’t know anything…I’m just a mindless sheep…Thats been in this business since 1995. Can you beat 11 years experience in a technical call center environment?

You sound like a business man…If you haven’t noticed, this place is called TECH Dirt. I’m the guy in the trenches, but I ain’t low man on the totem pole. I’ve been around the block a few times.

What I’m saying is this…these are the rules MindSpring played by…any employee could call any other employee on these rules if they believed they weren’t being followed. No one was exempt…not even the CEO.

MindSpring’s Core Values and Beliefs

1. We respect the individual, and believe that individuals who are treated with respect and given responsibility respond by giving their best.

2. We require complete honesty and integrity in everything we do.

3. We make commitments with care, and then live up to them. In all things, we do what we say we are going to do.

4. Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun. Being a good businessperson does not mean being stuffy and boring.

5. We are frugal. We guard and conserve the company’s resources with at least the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.

6. We insist on giving our best effort in everything we undertake. Furthermore, we see a huge difference between ?good mistakes? (best effort, bad result) and ?bad mistakes? (sloppiness or lack of effort).

7. Clarity in understanding our mission, our goals, and what we expect from each other is critical to our success.

8. We are believers in the Golden Rule. In all our dealings we will strive to be friendly and courteous, as well as fair and compassionate

EarthLink broke every single rule.

These are the things MindSpring never did…these were like zero tolerance issues. If it happenned…you no longer worked at MindSpring.

THE 14 DEADLY SINS OF MINDSPRING (or ways that we can be just like everybody else)

1. Give lousy service- busy signals, disconnects, downtime, and ring no answers.

2. Rely on outside vendors who let us down.

3. Make internal procedures easy on us, even if it means negatively affecting or inconveniencing the customer.

4. Joke about how dumb the customers are.

5. Finger point at how other departments are not doing their job.

6. Customers can’t get immediate “live” help from sales or support.

7. Poor coordination across departments.

8. Show up at a demo, sales call, trade show, or meeting unprepared.

9. Ignore the competition, they are far inferior to us.

10. Miss deadlines that we commit to internally and externally.

11. Make recruiting, hiring, and training a lower priority because we are too busy doing other tasks.

12. Look for the next job assignment, instead of focusing on the current one.

13. Office gossip, rumors, and politics.

14. Rely on dissatisfied customers to be your service monitors.

EarthLink is the epitomy of these deadly sins. I can actually give examples of how EarthLink did or does every single one of these.

But again…still not bitter…just want to thank them for laying me off just before my daughter’s 4th Christmas. It was real swell.

Especially the part where I got to flounder around in a nearly DEAD tech sector for over a year before any real jobs surfaced. After all…it was the bursting of the bubble. :-/ Thankfully now I have found a place that is much more MindSpring than EarthLink, but there will never be another company like MindSpring. That was a one of a kind company.

but hey…lets get back on topic here…

EarthLink SUCKS! If I go to San Francisco, I’ll use Verizon’s wifi network, even if the ELNK one is FREE!

And as far as satellite service is concerned, they’re just trying to keep up with the triple/quad play services that the telco’s and cable co’s are creating and they know they have no way to compete. They own NO infrasructure. They are screwed.

But hey…don’t take my word for it…I’m sheep. And harbingerofdumb is a name caller. And now I am too.

Chad says:

I say Fuck Earthlink too

Earthlink’s Total access software is trash, tech support is a joke, blah blah blah. Yep they are pathetic and suck as an ISP. Are they going to break up their own compay?? Well Tom Cruise is still nuttier than a fruitcake (and about as one dimensional as an actor can get), but his little Oprah freak out didn’t keep him from making MI:3, and lots more cash. The moral of the story? With or without the crazy Scientology angle Crap is still king as long as you have good advertising.




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