Vodafone only half-useful

Yesterday I couldn’t find Vodafone’s website because for some inexplicable reason I got the spelling wrong. Who knows, maybe it’s because in English the word is “phone” so I went to www.vodaphone.com.au. The stupid thing is, Vodafone had already gone half-way to solving the problem, but left me hanging.

Now I won’t get into the whole “Let’s convince customers we’re cool by using funky spelling” thing, except to say I think it’s a complete wank. As soon as you try to be cool, you’ve failed.

What’s daft is that Vodafone had in fact already licensed the Internet domain vodaphone.com.au…

posen:~ contour$ whois vodaphone.com.au
Domain Name: vodaphone.com.au
Last Modified: 16-Nov-2002 06:04:14 UTC
Registrar ID: R00010-AR
Registrar Name: Melbourne IT
Status: OK

Registrant: Vodafone Pacific Limited
Registrant ID: OTHER 056 161 043

Registrant ROID: C0754342-AR
Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
Registrant Email: hostmaster@vodafone.com.au

… but done nothing with it. So, for anyone who knows how to spell and goes to www.vodaphone.com.au, nothing happens. The resulting marketing message is “We’re offline. We’re unreliable”.

Yet with less than an hour’s work, the message could have been “Hey, our name is actually Vodafone. We’ll now take you to www.vodafone.com.au.”

And if they did that, they’d even know how many website visitors they’d been losing this way.

The lesson for businesses: Where are your customers looking for you? When they go there, will they find you?

11 Replies to “Vodafone only half-useful”

  1. Now that is odd, ‘Pong — because at least in German the word is “Telefon” with an “f”, so you’d think they’d be less interested in the “ph” spelling!

    Mind you, this assumes that the decisions are being made globally, instead of in an uncoordinated, scattered country-by-country way — and of course the latter is more likely.

  2. Hey guys! I agree – as one of the few remaining, english speaking and spelling australians lets please hang on to our own way of speaking and spelling. i thought and hoped vodafone was english – obviously not – bloody american! we cannot get away from the moronic spelling of this nation!! PS i am a taurus too and hence am passionate about thing being correct

  3. Oh, Donna, it’s not so much about what’s “correct” — I have no problem with the idea of language evolving.

    What irks me about this one is that I think in Australia people are more likely to use “ph” instead of “f” in this context — and that’s just bad marketing, because people can’t find you.

  4. what a life you have,i hate vodaphone for their outragous roaming charges,let alone their spelling!

  5. Who said anything about “hate”? And isn’t hate too strong an emotion to waste on something as mundane (i.e. “worldly”) as telephone bills?

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