"I don't need Iowa to do this." -- David Erickson of FreeConferenceCall.com to the Wall Street Journal
We're tired of media coverage of politicians, drunk on ethanol, genuflecting at the altar of Iowa corn as they compete for votes in the forthcoming
popularity contest caucuses which will continue to raise the prices of our beloved high-fructose corn syrup. So it was nice to hear something new out of Iowa recently. Last week on October 4th, none other than the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article about the so-called free conferencing calling services that are bridged in Iowa. We're big fans of the Journal but the reporter on this one seemed to miss some glaring facts and angles. But hey, a cutesy (and slanted) title like "How 2 Guys' Iowa Connection Took Big Telecoms for a Ride" is bound to sell better than telling the complete story. (And we thought some big telecoms have been taking the US government and us for a ride!)
While this type of conference calling has been growing fast for several years in the new millennium, the reporter from the Wall Street Journal would have us believe that this segment of the conferencing market (covered frequently by industry analysts like Elliot Gold) was essentially hatched with a "deal" just two-and-a-half years ago by rural phone company operator Ron Laudner and FreeConferenceCall.com founder David Erickson. Not even mentioned in the article is market pioneer Warren Jason and the company he built and sold for big bucks, Global Conference Partners, to a private-equity firm. You would think this would have been of interest to the Journal. As an aside, we hear that David Erickson initially worked in the free conferencing market as a reseller for Warren Jason which validates the view that the conferencing industry is one big happy
and totally dysfunctional family.
The article slants somewhat against the entrepreneurs, notwithstanding, perhaps unknown to the reporter, that there have been some relatively recent balancing comprises among the LECs, urban LECs, and IXCs. But surely an industry comment about the ability to offer similar services in nearby states like "I don't don't need Iowa to do this" doesn't help much in the public relations realm.
October 9, 2007