Independent Internet service providers, who recently feared they would be driven out of the market, are now speculating about how much business they will pick up as a result of the latest round of hostilities between the “big two”--Voyager and Xtra.
While poor standards of service and recent embarrassments over security and newsgroup access are reportedly seeing a stream of Xtra customers decamping to Ihug, other ISP managers expect Voyager’s acquisition and subsequent “spamming” of Xtra mail addresses, as well as its aggressive advertising campaign, to rebound.
Peter Belt, business manager of Auckland ISP Web World, says “all the little guys are picking up Voyager and Xtra business hand over fist. When Xtra arrived we lost 10% of our customers over six weeks, but we’re picking them all up now.”
“I think Jim Bolger amply demonstrated the way New Zealanders react to negative campaigning,” says another ISP spokesman. “They don’t like it. You might say the Worm is dipping every time Voyager runs an ad.”
Xtra’s brief blocking out of Voyager represents only the second time such action has been taken in the local Internet industry. While most of the ISP managers contacted by @IDG are uneasy about the actions of both of the combatants, the feeling is that Xtra’s sin has been the greater.