Mud-slinging is in season

Have you witnessed enough of the non-stop advertising? The shrill accusations against a competitor, and the extreme dissections of someone else's word choice? Does it all just make you sick? Does the idea of choosing between the two or three possibilities you are presented with make you not want to choose at all?

The presidential election race is indeed heating up, but so is the campaign among telcos and cable TV companies to win the popular vote of consumers. But, there has been an awful lot of mud-slinging lately, and both camps risk confusing and alienating their constituents.

AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Comcast for false advertising related to an ad in which Comcast suggested AT&T U-Verse customers would have "giant utility boxes" placed on their private properties (AT&T says access boxes only occasionally are deployed on private property with the consent of the owner). Comcast countered by alleging that AT&T U-Verse installations in some areas cause interference with cable TV quality.

Meanwhile, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and others are amping up their advertising efforts amid increasing competition and overall uncertainty about consumer spending. But, as consumers are facing much higher gas and food prices, they may not be in much of a mood to sort through all of this noise.

All broadband and TV service providers would be wise right now to talk to consumers about how they can help--how they can continue to provide quality service, how they are investing in customer care, and how they can package service bundles that make the best economic sense for a particular consumer. Acting like the competition is a bunch of jerks only will reinforce a perception that service providers are only trying to take care of themselves.

For more:
- see this story at The Wall Street Journal
- read this article at Multichannel News
- check this report about Comcast's new customer response tactic at The Seattle Times

- Dan