Sunday, December 20, 2009

Using Techy Terms to Conceal the Fact that Smart Bro Sucks

In my previous post about Smart Bro’s lock-in period, an anonymous commenter said:

“Uh dude, why are you comparing download speed (30kbps) to overall connection speed (56k for dial-up) like they're the same? You're as misleading as Smart Bro is.”

I’m assuming that the girl (As the commenter’s anonymous, I’m going to presume it’s a she to be on the safe side) is referring to this part of the post:

“And please allow me to remind you that a technology from Internet’s ancient past called dial-up has speeds of 56Kbps. Smart Bro Share It has 30. 30! Clearly, an ancient technology is way better than Smart Bro Share It plan 999.”

If you read the above quote or the whole post, I was not comparing download speed to overall connection speed, like what the commenter falsely asserts. (apples to oranges) Nowhere did I refer to Smart Bro Internet’s pathetic 30Kbps as download speed. (Oh by the way, right now it’s 23Kbps) The commenter should first learn how to read before writing a comment.

But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the 30 Kbps was only Smart Bro’s download speed, that’s 3.75 KBps (or KB/s, however you want to call it) download which is still lower than what I get from dial-up which is  7 to 8 KBps (KB/s) download. Now that’s download speed to download speed. (apples to apples) Any more questions?

She also missed the point by a mile. That post was really about Smart Bro Internet’s long lock-in period. The title should have given her the clue. The whole Smart Bro Share It versus dial-up thing was just a way of saying that Smart Bro sucks. The comparison was mentioned, sure, but it was not the whole story. It does not matter whether it’s 30 Kbps, or 20 Kbps, or 26.9997 Kbps. The point is that it sucks because a page loads slower with it than with the cheaper dial-up connection. She failed to see the entire forest for the trees. So in addition to the suggestion above, the commenter should also learn to actually understand what she reads before writing a comment.

Finally, in the last paragraph of that post, I said:

“To further their goals, they use techno-babble and the fact that technology is inherently difficult to grasp for the average consumer.”

And this Smart Bro minion-cum-anonymous commenter exemplifies this perfectly by injecting technical terms to hide a simple truth. Like I said, it does not matter whether it’s 30 Kbps, or 20 Kbps, or 26.9997 Kbps. It does not even matter whether that’s overall speed or download speed. Average users don’t understand that—nor do they care. The point is that it is slow. Slower than even dial-up. Since I pay more for Smart Bro Internet than for a dial-up connection, I expect my pages to load faster by a corresponding factor—or even just a bit faster, but never slower. Is that too much to ask?

Smart Bro Internet Problems

In my first post, Welcome to my Smart Bro Review Blog, a lady who calls herself Skinbottledtears left a comment. Since that is actually an About This Blog page, I decided not to publish the comment there. But I do find it a bit interesting so I’ll address it here.

The comment is a bit long so I won’t put it here in its entirety. I’ll just give you the essence and maybe, I could save your time. Basically, what she said is that I should not waste my time warning people about Smart Bro problems because not everybody is having problems. But please note that Mary Ann’s actual comment does not sound anything like that. She really took the time to express herself in a nice and friendly manner.

However, I really do not see it her way. While not everybody is having Smart Bro internet problems, a good majority does. You can confirm this by posting a query in your favorite search engine for “Smart Bro”, “Smart Bro Problems” or “Smart Bro Sucks”. Repeat the search using SmartBro instead of Smart Bro and you’ll have a lot of pages to read. You can also try searching in Twitter to see what people are saying about Smart Bro. Just ignore the tweets of Smart Bro minions telling people how Smart Bro is the greatest thing since slice bread. If it were, why would there be more than a few overly unsatisfied users?

Even if not everybody is having problems, why should I not warn new users? A lot, if not the majority, are having Smart Bro connection problems and Smart Bro speed problems. I am having Smart Bro problems. Potential users should know that before they sign on the dotted line and get locked in. They should know that many, even if not all, are highly dissatisfied with Smart Bro internet. If they would still think that they will be one of the few lucky, satisfied customers and gamble their money, then good luck to them.

From the new user’s standpoint, I’m sure that they would want to know if there is any problem with Smart Bro’s speed or connection even if that problem may not apply to all because there is a big chance that it might apply to them. If nobody says anything about how Smart Bro sucks just because it does not suck to some, (like to Smart Bro’s minions) then people will think that there is no problem with Smart Bro internet which, of course, is false.

If you, my reader, were travelling on a road through a hot summer day, thirsty, would you dare drink from a clear, seemingly clean river when (even just) a quarter of those who drank from it got diarrhea? Would you dare tell those who got diarrhea not to warn others because it’s different for different people? I wonder.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Smart Bro Share It Lock In Period

Smart Broadband, Inc. extended the Smart Bro Share It lock-in period to two years, it confused me at first. Why would Smart Broadband, Inc. want to do that? The previous one year lock-in period was already long enough, for crying out loud.

Smart Bro Share It router’s fee is now waived. In the past, you have to pay for the Smart Bro Share It router. So at first, I thought that this was the reason why Smart Broadband, Inc. extended the lock-in period. Afterall, it would be unfair to Smart if the subscriber would suddenly terminate the service just after getting a free Smart Bro Share It router and before Smart could even recoup the cost.

But after the Smart Bro Share It sales agent told me that I have to return the Smart Bro Share It router in the event that I terminate the service, it became apparent that there must be other reasons for extending the lock-in period. If I have to return the Smart Bro Share It router at the end of my service contract, then there is no reason for them to lock me in longer even if they waive the Share It router fee because they are going to get it back anyway. It’s not like I get to keep the Smart Bro Share It router for free without giving Smart Broadband, Inc. the chance to recover their costs.

So what could be the reason why the Smart Bro Share It lock-in period got extended? The answer became clear to me later, but only after it became moot. Smart Bro Share It sucks–and it sucks big time! (this includes Smart Bro Plug It because they both use the same technology) Unfortunately, by the time you notice that, you are already locked in and you can’t do anything about it. You’ll have to pay mega bucks for a service worse than dial-up—and you also have to pay for it for quite some time, whether you like it or not. This is lock-in for you, boys and girls. It’s the ultimate corporate weapon to compensate for bad service or products.

They advertise their Smart Bro Share It plan 999 as having speeds of up to 2Mbps; but in reality, all I get is somewhere around the neighborhood of 30Kbps. “K”, not “M”. And please allow me to remind you that a technology from Internet’s ancient past called dial-up has speeds of 56Kbps. Smart Bro Share It has 30. 30! Clearly, an ancient technology is way better than Smart Bro Share It plan 999. In addition, Smart Bro Share It is waaaay more expensive than dial-up, disconnects more often and has a two year lock-in period. This makes dial-up not just better than Smart Bro Share It but superior! Finally, if you plan to use Skype calls, Yahoo voice or Bittorrent, forget Smart Bro Share It. These applications require a decent upload speed and Smart Bro Share It can only deliver a measly 5Kbps for upload. It’s double NAT configuration also adds another barrier in the case of Bittorrent.

“So, are they lying?”, you ask. No, they aren’t. They only said that Smart Bro Share It plan 999 has speeds of UP TO 2Mbps—and it does reach that speed once in a blue moon. What they did not tell you is that while Smart Bro Share it can achieve speeds of up to 2Mbps sometimes, you have to stay in the 30-50Kbps range almost all of the time. Their advertisements may not be false, but it is definitely very misleading.

But misleading advertising alone won’t cut it. It must only be the first phase. Something else has to be done to adequately fill the corporate coffers. This brings us back to the necessity of an extended lock-in period. After subscribers find out about Smart Bro Share It’s sorry capability, they could just terminate their service agreement. To prevent that, there also has to be a longer lock-in period—phase two. That’s why they extended the lock-in period to two years. One year may not have been enough for them. With a two-year lock-in period, they will have hundreds of incoming new applicants by the time you are allowed to cut the ties.

The lock-in period could not have been extended due to the waived Share It router’s fee, as I have already discussed earlier. Rather, it’s the other way around. They need a longer lock-in period to complement their misleading advertising and used the waived Share It router fee as a pathetic excuse to extend the lock-in period. Additionally, the waived router fee could also double as a bait for phase one together with the false advertising. That’s two birds with one stone. Pretty neat, huh?

First, they use misleading advertising and a waived Share It router fee as bait. They also use an army of Smart Broadband, Inc. employees and Twitter mercenaries to proclaim how good Smart Bro is, how much they love Smart Bro, how thankful they are to Smart Bro, how Smart Bro saved the day, how Smart Bro is the messiah, how Smart Bro can save the world with one hand while playing Tetris with the other, and other such nonsense. Then after they have lured the quarry in, they snap the lock-in period trap to lock them up for good. How convenient.

This business strategy should not be allowed. No one should trust any product or service from any company that is capable of doing such devious scheme as this. They prey upon the innocence of consumers. To further their goals, they use techno-babble and the fact that technology is inherently difficult to grasp for the average consumer. If you are planning to apply for a Smart Bro Share It account, Smart Bro Plug It or any other pseudobroadband service from Smart Broadband, Inc., think hard and think twice.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Welcome to my Smart Bro Review Blog

What Smart Bro Reviews Blog is About

This Smart Bro Reviews Blog is about how Smart Bro Share It sucks big time. By writing this blog, I hope that I can help other people by informing them what they are getting into before they get tied to a two-year contract which they will find costly to terminate.

Without blogs like this, people will easily be mislead by Smart Broadband, Inc.'s misleading advertising. Note that I said misleading and not totally untrue. Which part is misleading and how it is so? Stay tuned for that!

What Smart Bro Reviews Blog is Not

Smart Bro Reviews is not about pushing a competing broadband internet service. I am not writing what I write here for the sake of advertising another broadband product. You need not worry about that. When I say that Smart Bro Share It sucks or that Smart Bro Plug It sucks, it’s because they do—not because I have something else to sell or because I work with a competing broadband service provider.