Things Get Frothy In Coffee Shop WiFi Spat

from the barista-fight! dept

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, a WiFi battle is brewing between a Starbucks and another independent coffee shop. The independent store (which the article refers to as "formerly known as 'Jamocha'", with no reference to its current name) says people are sitting in Starbucks, but using its free WiFi access instead of paying to access Starbucks' T-Mobile hotspot. Things are getting ugly -- the independent store has begun changing its password each day and giving it out only to paying customers. Plenty of businesses are sold on the benefits of providing free Wi-Fi, and use it as a differentiator from the likes of Starbucks. But it's clearly not a cure-all: when the signal "leaks" and people would still rather go to a competitor, that would seem to indicate a business is at a competitive disadvantage in some other area. It seems like a good advertising opportunity for the independent store -- leave access open, but give people an intro page pointing them to the fact that they're using the WiFi from the coffee shop across the street. In fact, this is what Schlotzsky's Deli has done in some of its stores within signal range of a Starbucks.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Andy, 5 Oct 2005 @ 5:29pm

    No Subject Given

    Hasn't Schlotzsky's Deli been out of business for a few years? That link is from 2002. Although, I doubt their policies on wireless usage were their downfall if they really are out of business.

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

  • identicon
    Murdock DeNoss, 5 Oct 2005 @ 9:28pm

    Errr

    I've done this a few times in long beach california. There is a starbucks on pine st downtown long beach and then there are 3 business class dsl broadcasting wifi that if you run a linksys site servey you can connect with no problem.. I mean honestly if you are going to have some sort of wireless put a SSID with a 64 to 128 Enkryption on it, else you're going to loose money really fast.. or bandwith!

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

  • identicon
    Eliot Phillips, 5 Oct 2005 @ 11:18pm

    Price list

    They should set up a captive portal and advertise their cheaper-than-Starbucks prices on the start page.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2005 @ 5:09am

    Schlotsky's SUCKS

    The first and only time I ate there I was horrified. Normally I don't bother checking my food but by an off chance I just happened to lift up my bun and right in the middle of the sandwich was a dead wasp, yellow markings, stinger and all.

    When I showed them my sandwich they had the nerve to offer me a replacement. How do you miss something like that unless you make the sandwich with your eyes closed?

    Ever since that day I always dismantel my sandwiches before eating them. I am scarred for life...

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

    • identicon
      crystalattice, 6 Oct 2005 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Schlotsky's SUCKS

      Uhm, yeah, I call bullsh*t. A hair I can see, maybe even someone spitting in your food. But I find it incredibly hard to believe a wasp found it's way into your sandwich, on the top, and no one saw it when the bread was put on it.

      I've never had any complaints when I've eaten there; I think they have the best fast-food sandwiches around.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2005 @ 8:15pm

        Re: Schlotsky's SUCKS

        Before I went vegetarian 20+ years aogo. my favorite food was a Mister Jim's Special with sweet peppers.
        The last time I can remember having that sub, it was loaded with fruit flies or gnats or something. I ate it and it was delicious.
        Looks like the only serve pizza now.

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

  • identicon
    jeremiah, 6 Oct 2005 @ 8:27am

    WiFi - I agree w/ Techdirt

    I agree w/ Techdirt on this one, although I think it could have been articulated a little better.

    Basically, the store is missing/ignoring a *blatant* opportunity to change their biz model for the better. If you have such an obvious behavior in front of you (customers leaving your premises to go next door, but taking WiFi with them), then you know that, for whatever reason, people prefer to be in the Starbucks.

    I don't know the shop mentioned, so I can't comment on any elements that may drive people out of their shop and into Starbucks, however, given that people are *obviously* doing that, time is ripe for figuring it out.

    Did they consider simply *asking* their patrons what the deal was??

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

  • identicon
    CCafe, 6 Oct 2005 @ 12:44pm

    No Subject Given

    How stupid, itís really simple to solve the problem vs. handing out passwords. They need to change their antenna type from broadcasting omni-directional to a directional type antenna. Then you could also incorporate some type of dB trap to drop signal strength that way the signal never makes it out of the building.

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

  • identicon
    Bob, 7 Oct 2005 @ 2:04am

    'Jamocha'...

    Maybe its your coffee?

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

  • identicon
    wade, 28 Nov 2008 @ 4:26pm

    free wi-fi signal

    Another idea is to put the free wi-fi signal on a leash with a Captive Portal whereas customers need to login to access the network. Each username / password needs to be good for one session only (2 hours for example). Wade href="http://www.freewifihotspotsoftware.com">82nd street hotspot software

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.