Lately at Fon we have been thinking of how to spread the Movimiento Fon inside the web sites of Skype, Google, eBay, Microsoft and Yahoo. Google, eBay, and Skype are our partners and Yahoo and Microsoft are not but Microsoft and Yahoo sell advertising and we could think of advertising. In partner sites Fon does not need to appear as advertising, it can appear as a recommendation in a sign up process for example. When they ask what type of internet connection you have they could say, do you have WiFi? Would you like to share it? Or for example we now appear at OpenBC the most productive business community web site in the world in their downloads. At Fon we have never advertised so far and we already have over 33,000 foneros. We are now the largest WiFi community in the world but we have been so far only present at Fon and at OpenBC. Even T Mobile only has 21,000 hotspots. But now that we are so big we also realize how small everyone is in the WiFi world. We are going to need a million foneros around the world to be a reliable service. With a million foneros we will begin to have a WiFi network that will rival the 3G networks in coverage and will beat 3G in throughput. Plus it will be free to all the wifi donors and affordable, say $2 per 24 hours to those who don´t donate. Still we must find clever way to collaborate both with our partners at Skype, eBay and Google to promote the movimiento and mabe advertise in big web sites. We are also thinking of Technorati, the main reason here is not scientific, is that we love Technorati at Fon and overall the blogging community has been very supportive of our movimiento.

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isaacb on April 28, 2006  · 

Martin you are talking about strategies now, how FON can still penetrate the market in a a way for aproaching the one million foneros worldwide so you and your partners achieve your goals.

The way FON has been growing since the last month of october is great and very admirable but new ways are comming for FON if really wants to compite worldwide with giants as Vodafone or other Mobile companies covering urban territories worldwide.

Whats your target? I heard on the japanese presentation of FON that most interested foneros are the ones with PSP or other mobile devices.

What do you need to aproach the market targetwise?

Once you have your worldwide network wifiFONs will run through that network and you’ll be able to compite with the 3g providers as an option of communicating worldwide.

It’s gonna be fun!

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David Oliver on April 29, 2006  · 


The way that Fon has marketed itself up until now reminds me of the early days of my old company,, where Jack Ma was able to use his personality to generate huge amounts of free publicity.

In the area of viral marketing why not offer all registered foneros a free webmail address? Emails sent include a promotional ad for Fon. Email newsletters and updates can then be easily sent to the Fon community. How about a webpage where a user can ping their own router and find out if it is Fon-compatible (I don’t know if this is possible), and then they can follow simple steps to install the software?

I don’t know what you include in the box when you ship out a router but a bunch of Fon stickers and a free hat and/ or tshirt would be great for spreading the word.

Looking at the Fon boards it would seem that security is a concern for quite a few people, whether or not this true its the PERCEPTION that counts. If installing Fon on their router helps to improve the user’s security then why aren’t you promoting this fact more?

A prime target user for Fon would be people that travel – businessmen, expatriates, students etc – and so you can target your marketing at these groups. Here in Asia I would have thought that the early adopters are likely to be expatriates and locals with exposure to the West rather than the local population at large. To get large numbers of the locals involved you would be better doing partnership deals with ISPs etc like you have done in France. While the product is the same the marketing mix and message will be different here compared to Europe or the U.S.

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Randle P. McMurphy on April 29, 2006  · 

Hi Martín, today I’ve seen in Madrid a car (Smart) decorated with big fon stickers all over it. Are you launching a campaign or is it a company car?

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David Oliver on May 1, 2006  · 

If you’re using cars to promote Fon then why not make them mobile Fon hotspots at the same time? Park them at different places in cities, including where tourists and travelling Fon users might gather, or at sports events such as the upcoming football World Cup. Great branding and directly serving Fon users.

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Martín Varsavsky on May 2, 2006  · 


Interestingly at Fon we have the same idea with cars as we do with connections. We got Smart cars for the people who work at Fon and they share them as needed. We don´t give specific cars to specific people. And we put stickers on them.


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Martín Varsavsky on May 2, 2006  · 

Great ideas, thanks David!

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ansaria on May 2, 2006  · 

Bigger than T-Mobile??? X-DDD (lot of laughs)

good marketing but…

…you really have 33.000 user registered in your database, not active HotSpots…

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Martín Varsavsky on May 2, 2006  · 


We too are laughing at Fon! We got more foneros in 2 months than they got hotspots in 4 years!


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Panayotis Vryonis on May 3, 2006  · 

You need to give people something to talk about. Something to demonstrate to their friends to show how cool FON is.

I would suggest a couple of screensavers or Yahoo! Widgets that show a world map (or a selected area) with little lights going on and off when a fon router is connected or disconnected. (You could determine the location using GeoIP). This is something cool (IMHO). I will display in the best way what would take minutes for me to explain. I could just say “you see all these spots? I have a free wifi connection there!” Display the AP name on mouse-over, maybe an extra text or photo that router owners could set. Use colors to show how “old” an AP is.

One more thing that many users may love is a custom default AP page. Let owners use their APs as local ad space. This could be a simple yet killer app. This alone could make users have their routers on. It could turn viral in the best way.

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Maite on May 26, 2006  · 

Couple more of ideas:

.- Get into sites like Bebo or MySpaces they are booming and their users can be very fonappeals, I have not thought about the partnership formula to do it but it got to be one

.- This may not sound very “sexy” for this techiviralmkt blog but a good dose of “old” PR will help (get into the mainstream media print, TV, radio and online more often and regurlarly…. their business and technology sections…. they are still a big reference for a lot of people including advance online users) Sexy stories, press releases, work the journalist crow, get all of them on fon (invite them to visit you, give them a fon setup box,wahtever), there are thousand old PR techniques that will help the movment…and gess what…. they are also free as much as viralmarkting through blogs!!!

.- Think and move ahead of steps like the recent agreement between Yahoo and eBay, or Google and Dell…. you guys has to be thinking not just only in fon but in how other actors will move and then see where do you fit whint these moves. If you start to get into the shoes of the players and shakers of the Internet and the telecom today you will be able to envision where your place could be tomorrow, how to propose win-win situation to partners about fon…. for instance in all the recent movments it seems that MSN is one of the players that are going alone about almost everything or are being left alone… it does not matter but maybe you can envision that they are going to need to come out with something more than just their own paid per click platform adcenter or their own voip…..which is going to be their next move, who they can partner with, how you can be part of (if your ties with Google allows you of course!!)

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