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Thursday, February 15, 2007

 

Few will enter, few will win

This email about a contest MetroFi is hosting turned up in my inbox this morning:

Dear MetroFi User:

Thank you for those who have submitted your success story to MetroFi. This is a reminder to send in an interesting story about your use of MetroFi's Wi-Fi service before February 19th, 2007! We are looking for the most unique stories so tell us yours!

MetroFi will be giving away 5 Ruckus MetroFlex™ Modems (a $149 value) to the persons with the best stories. The Ruckus will improve signal strength and your overall experience when connected to MetroFi. Please e-mail your story, your name, contact information and what city you are in to success@metrofi.com. Reminder! The deadline is February 19th 2007 to be eligible.


I'm sure a good number of users will enter but I wonder how many of their anecdotes will be grounded in reality. Back in December I took my laptop downtown to take a spin on the city's free wireless network. I parked my car on 4th Avenue, a block away from one of MetroFi's access points. The laptop tracked down a weak signal, I tried to connect a few times but couldn't pick up anything. After moving the car to a spot roughly ten yards from an access point outside of the Lotus, Google finally loaded.

The signal was strong and pages loaded fairly quickly. Still, as users have complained about for months, the service is still unreliable and impractical unless they're packing a high-powered wireless modem (or willing to camp out under one of MetroFi's stoplight-mounted antennas). Even then, only a certain number of users can log on at one time. If MetroFi's signal range improved in recent weeks, I haven't heard a peep about it.

So am I currently trying to come up with a fake success story so I can score one of those $149 modems? Nope. Why? Because I don't want to become an involuntary spokesman for MetroFi's lackluster service. Check out this easy-to-miss disclaimer in the contest rules:

4. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and television), which MetroFi may deem appropriate.


But would a modem AND a free cookie be enough to entice me into becoming a potential shill? Maybe...

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