Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What's in a name?

In response to my post of last night on Net2Phone, a reader has sent me an interesting piece of information. This reader is a user of Net2Phone's Voiceline product, and on a hunch a few days back, went to the MCI Neighborhood Broadband Calling website, entered the FAQ section and selected the option allowing users to check their accounts. In the required fields he placed his Net2Phone Voiceline account details, and, lo and behold, was taken to an account status page, despite the fact that he did not have an account with MCI. The status information displayed was identical to that of his genuine Net2Phone account (he has sent me some documentation which appears to validate this). Apparently he was able to log in to the MCI site as recently as last weekend.

What drove his initial hunch about NTOP and MCI was an earlier experience involving a local cable service provider which started whitelabelling NTOP's solution. The reader, as an existing NTOP customer, was similarly able to log into the cableco's site using his NTOP details, though this problem was fixed within a week. One other observation he makes is that the service codes (commands for voicemail options, etc.) are apparently the same for both MCI and Voiceline, a fact he says can be confirmed by consulting the user guides for both. His inescapable conclusion is that MCI's product is a reskinned version of Voiceline.

UPDATE: My source has just confirmed that he tried it again at 2:35PM London time and was still able to log in.

UPDATE 2: Still able to log in at 6:03PM London time.

UPDATE 3: Andy chimes in and connects the dots pretty explicitly in a way which I only obliquely suggested yesterday. I tend to think he's right.

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