Bellsouth targets Google with cyberextortion?

Bellsouth targets Google with cyberextortion?

Summary: Regarding BellSouth's alleged attempt to charge Google blood money so that the telco's customers could access Google's Web sites, Doc Searls writes: BellSouth wasn't thinking. They were doing what big carriers always do, which is look for ways to make big money with tiered service to big customers.

TOPICS: Hardware

Regarding BellSouth's alleged attempt to charge Google blood money so that the telco's customers could access Google's Web sites, Doc Searls writes:

BellSouth wasn't thinking. They were doing what big carriers always do, which is look for ways to make big money with tiered service to big customers. Dumb, perhaps, in this case; but predictable.

If this attempt to treat Google as though its HBO or some other premium cable channel is true, I'm not surprised.  Check out the cellcos. They're already doing something very similar by hardwiring specific content sources into their services instead of figuring out a way to come up with the best overall Internet experience on their handsets where the user chooses the content.  For some reason, they all think they're running a cable TV network.  When are they going to realize that the Internet isn't cable TV?   The old Cable TV model is dead.  Hasn't anybody noticed how many of the major cable channels are making their content available through their Web sites?  By the way, Searls cites Cory Doctorow who cites ex-ZDNetter Preston Gralla.   

Topic: Hardware

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  • Greed

    If true, this is just another example of greed. Why should an ISP charge websites money for artificially enforced QoS? Does that serve the ISP's customers needs? Does it cost the ISP anything? NO!
  • Dumb & Dumber

    I'm not surprised. I have warned before on ZDNet that telcos are looking at their low-margin businesses and trying to think of new ways to apply gateways / set-tops.

    On the other hand, I am disappointed. Bellsouth have chosen to show the telco hand by being brash, crude and, some would say, downright stupid.

    I would have expected the telcos to be much more subtle. Perhaps the dot-com-bomb [which also took the telcos out of the game for a few years] has greatly reduced the number of quality managers employed in this sector? This is a time when negotiation skills must be paramount in the telco arsenal.

    I have good reason to be especially disappointed, as someone who previously worked on telco-publisher partnerships. Bellsouth ought to be concentrating on selling QoS, Services, and extra Functionality to both ends of the wire - not throwing up their hands saying, in effect, "We can only make money if you let us own the data flow". No-one is going to believe that - it was never their data to begin with...

    Bellsouth, of course, are not a cellco so are, perhaps, not familiar with the cellco model you cite?

    Even if they were familiar with the cellco model a wire-ISP does not always have the same technical controls over how services are delivered [thus their 'need' to retrofit more boxes of tricks to their ISP services]. In essence; One of the reasons that you can get high quality, but high cost, services on cellular is because the cellcos have filters in place - limiting competition. It has always surprised me that this has not attracted the attention of the DoJ...

    Bellsouth, however, must take the biscuit for the dumbest play ever - what is it about Google that customers would pay for?
    Stephen Wheeler
  • BellSouth customers are also their cyberextortion victims.

    BellSouth recently began blocking SMTP port 25 access to all of its "residential" internet customers, under the guise of limiting the proliferation of SPAM. No amount of proof to BellSouth that my system is 100% patched and updated with all available hotfixs, nor the fact that it has never been responsible for sending or forwarding SPAM, was sufficient to restore port 25 access.

    But amazingly enough, upgrading to "business" access at a cost increase of $50/mo. would do the trick!! For the $50 monthly increase, I receive absolutely nothing, nada, zip, except the restoral of SMTP send/receive ability. If this doesn't qualify as blatant extortion, I don't know what does.
    • or is it business

      It may seem like extortion, but it also qualifies a business. What bellsouth is doing is saying that most residential customers do not need Port 25, so why allow port 25 to pass.

      Bellsouth may have done this also for business purposes to prevent business customers from using residential services at the lower price per month (much the same as MS has XP Home and XP Pro).

      In addition, many security people, about a year ago, were calling for ISPs to do exactly what bellsouth has done, start blocking port 25. The call back then was for blocking of those who were SPAM sources. Bellsouth simply decided that residential customers don't need mail servers and, therefore, don't need Port 25. So they blocked that port in order to prevent workstations from becoming SPAM servers.

      So it could just be business instead of extortion. I know that doesn't help you, but ...

      What bellsouth needs to do is address the residential customer that wants port 25 for operating a mail server. Bellsouth has "DSL Light" which serves the needs of many residential customers. Bellsouth also has other levels of DSL for other customers who require or want more throughput available at a higher price. Perhaps, if enough residential customers voice the same concern, Bellsouth will initiate a "new" service for residential customers who wish to operate their own mail servers.
      • I agree with your last paragraph..... but...

        (1) BellSouth itself "forced" me to implement a private email server. I travel extensively and BellSouth's email servers refuse to accept any email not originating from one of their subnets. (error 550) Account authentication worked at one time, but no longer.

        (2) I do not run a business from my residence, nor do I serve email to anyone other than myself.

        (3) BellSouth's professed best efforts aside, their SPAM filtering capability is marginally effective. Nearly 50% of the messages I receive via BellSouth's servers is SPAM. Using a personal email server allows me unlimited accounts that can be deleted if they become compromised.

        (4) BellSouth blocking my INBOUND port 25 has very limited or NO effect on the Internet SPAM problem. Blocking OUTBOUND port 25 to all servers except BellSouth's is the only preventative action that I see having any desired effect on the professed SPAM problem.

        (5) BellSouth's "webmail" implementation is an unacceptable substitute for a full featured email client.

        (6) BellSouth's "protect the Internet from SPAM generated by unpatched computers" policy doesn't hold water since no corresponding action is being taken against "business" customers, only the "residential" ones. Small businesses with several dozen to several hundred PCs that haven't had a service pack or patch applied since they were taken out of the box are just as guilty of contributing to the SPAM problem as any residential nubie.

        (7) Other ISPs that have implemented a port 25 block have allowed users to simply "opt-out" of the port 25 block subject to traffic monitoring.

        (8) I stand by my "extortion" description since BellSouth is very willing to sell back port 25 for $50 more per month, no questions asked. When a company sells me a product (full Internet access) then reduces the functionality of that product (block port 25) without a corresponding reduction in price, then offers to sell that function back to me at twice the previous price - it's extortion - no other term fits the situation.