Alitalia’s Marketing Strategy and Cipolla’s Third Law on Stupidity

If you book the Alitalia’s cheapest fare on a flight it might happens (twice in two weeks, to me) that you aren’t entitled to get a decent quantity of miles for the Mille Miglia frequent flyer programme and mandatory given an (often) uncomfortable seat.

This Ryanair-like attitude (everything is an optional) might make sense for long hauls or mid-distance travels, where the passengers are available to pay a surcharge to board first or get some other goodie. But is completely useless for one-hour, taxi-like flights, were people go for the cheapest fare, and either don’t actually care about being good seated or earning a few miles.

Of course, Alitalia must justify the different fares for exactly the same thing (moving people from A to B), but this should be done by adding something more to the standard, and not by lowering the quality of the service first, and ask for more money to get something that was always been taken for granted until yesterday.

To put it short, letting a few “privileges” for the short-distance travelers wouldn’t have done any harm to Alitalia’s pocket, while it would have made people’s day better. Instead, the company chose to worsen its customers’ travel experience, without getting an actual benefit. This affects the passengers’ loyalty to such a company, and as soon as people is offered alternatives, they will surely catch it.

A classical application of Carlo Cipolla’s Third Law of Human Stupidity.


National Security, Mediaset and RAI Way Tower

Today the RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana, the public broadcasting company) Radio News Program asked me to provide an opinion about the risks for the national security in case the broadcasting towers belonging to RAI WAY (public-owned company) be purchased by a Mediaset-controlled company. The importance of these broadcasting towers relies upon the fact that they work both for “ordinary” TV programs and for the law-enforcement and other security-related agencies masts.

Here is the link to the interview that starts at 3:00 min. and, for the non-italian speaking people, here is the summary of what I said: privatizing the national security is an ongoing process started years ago with the “online piracy-child pornography excuse”. Regulations have been passed that turned over the ISP and Telcos’s shoulder the task to perform wiretapping, eavesdropping and geolocalization so this RAYWAY issue is just another brick in the wall. By going ahead with this privatization process, nevertheless, there is a  risk to jeopardize serious crimes investigations since the information about a criminal proceeding will be known by a much too big number of people. So I wander if this “National Security Frenziness” is for real, or it is just a way to spread the usuale FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.)

Barbarians at the gates and the world economic crisis

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco is a book that might have been written in present times instead – as it was – of the ’90s. The well documented (and very well written) account of the biggest leveraged buy out Wall Street had dreamed ever is a detailed explanation of how the financial system started ruining the “real economy” after 1987 black monday crisis. Although this book is slightly out-of-the-scope for this blog, I nevertheless suggest to give it a try. A lot of things that happens in the ICT world might all of a sudden make sense…

Telecom Italia’s new Barons: an Italian Zaibatsu?

Once AT&T retired its offer, the future of Telecom Italia seems to rely upon Intesa Sanpaolo’s bid (probably the biggest italian bank). Should this scenario become true, the result would be a sort of Zaibatsu.

The interesting thing is that to avoid the monopoly, the Italian governement and the Ministry of communication, On. Gentiloni (Margherita) are creating an enormous conglomerate.

Will that helps promoting free market?

Telecom Italia: is gov’t “unbundling” the network a right choice?

Sometimes they strike back. Italian Prime Minister on. Romano Prodi and the Ministry of communication, on. Paolo Gentiloni are talking again about the idea of “unbundle” the telephone network propriety from the service provided through the lines. It seems that the chosen model would be the UK way: a public company “owns” the wires, while the operators (including Telecom Italia) will compete on the market services.

It might have been the former mr. Prodi’s governement mistake to sell Telecom Italia the telephone network, but nevertheless it doesn’t seem that fair – now – to take the network back, thus reducing ex lege the value of a company. This “pendulum-based” approach (swinging back and forth from private to public ownership) it is not a good signal for both the market and the foreign investor who will continue staring at Italy as an unreliable country to do business with (or in.)

Truth is that Italy is paying the almost total lack – in the last 15 years – of a telecommunications political strategy. Television market has been, is and will be politicians main concern, while lasting everything else back.

Pretending that a problem doesn’t exist is not an option, because – it is just matter of time – the bill always come at the end of the dinner.

Fastweb. Again!

That’s incredible! Fastweb answered the Data Protection Authority questions by claiming to ignore  who was calling me on its behalf, and not to have any personal data belonging to me. A few days after (March, 26) I got a NEW CALL from “Fastweb Commercial Department” trying to sell something.

I’ve reported againg this new fact to the Authority, and now I’m really courious to see who – between Fastweb and the Authority – is better “nuts-equipped”.

More to come…

Fastweb answer to Data Protection Authority

In a previous post I talked about the complaint I sent the Data Protection Authority about Fastweb (an Italian Telco maverick) phone SPAM. Following my letter, the Authority asked Fastweb to provide justification and additional information about that issue. Continue reading

Intesa Sanpaolo Internet Banking’s Catch 22

It might happens for some odd and unpredictable reason (at least from the user perspective) that the Internet Banking stops granting you access to your account (incorrect userid or password, they say.) Then you have to call customer assistance by phone, and the automated system, before allowing to talk to a human being, asks for your userid, password and one-time-password.

But that information are incorrect (in fact you have no longer access to your account), and you can’t talk to anybody to fix the problem unless you have a working userid and password (that you have not). You just need to wait, and at the end of the day some human being will answer your call.

It would be better to answer first, isnt’it?

Intesa Sanpaolo: when marketing meets security

Recently Intesa Sanpaolo (born after a merge between Banca Intesa e Istituto San Paolo) moved its Internet banking authentication system from a password-based to a one-time-password-based access.

They sell that “innovation” – ever happens in the ICT business – as a major increase in IT security and then as a benefit for the customer, but if you think for a while this is not entirely true. Or – better – this might be true from the perspective of a marketing manager. But it is not from the customer standpoint.

Continue reading