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Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae EVDO Case Study,'s sister site, was founded in 2004 to help users understand EVDO, and today, the site comprehensively covers product information, industry news, authoritative advice, and helpful tips. Seth Godin, author of several business handbooks, took notice of our website and has included as a "case study" in his latest book Meatball Sundae.

The following is an excerpt from Seth Godinís Meatball Sundae, page 281

Case Studies


I had no clue what EVDO was. Itís entirely possible youíve never heard of it.

EVDO is the wireless technology used to allow your laptop computer to access the Internet even if youíre not in a Starbucks. Offered by cell-phone companies like Sprint and Verizon, EVDO offers unlimited surfing in just about every major U.S. metro area for about sixty dollars a month. In order to make that service work, you need to buy a card that plugs into the slot in your laptop.

The cell-phone companies offer resellers huge bonuses for signing up users. A two-year contract is worth more then $1,400 to Sprint, so the stakes are pretty big.

But how do you get into the business of selling EVDO cards to businesspeople?

Hereís the meatball method. Open a chain of retail stores, or, if you are really ambitious, figure out how to get a big chain like Radio Shack to add the item to their inventory. Train the Radio Shack salespeople to support one more item, but since theyíre busy, donít expect them to be so good ad it. Advertise the stores and the cards in airplane magazines and other media that appear to the well-heeled business travelers, and hope that your prices are low enough and your stores convenient enough that you earn enough to buy more ads.

As you can probably tell by now, thatís a ridiculous strategy.

Thereís too much clutter, and there arenít enough stores. Itís too hard to teach someone about EVDO and too difficult to figure out whom to talk to and then to determine what they need, and the support is just too expensive to spread around the country. If you get into a price war, then whatever profit might have followed will evaporate.

A company called took a very different approach. They embraced the sundae and got in sync with the rules of the New Marketing.

If you do a Google search on EVDO, odds are you will come across the largest forums on the topic. is a free bulletin-board site packed with thousands of messages on a variety of topics having to do with EVDO. Please note: They donít rank highly in Google because they manipulated the system. No, EVDOforums ranks highly because they deserve to. Itís organic search engine optimization -- they attract traffic because theyíve built a clearinghouse for free information.

Want to get the new Verizon card to work on your Mac? All the details are here. You will find links to free software, to tutorials, even to software that was written by members of the community for other members.

Reading all the technical detail, you may realize (I did) that you donít have the time or the talent to do this yourself. If you are willing to pay $1,400 for this sort of service, youíre probably willing to pay a hundred dollars or so to have someone do it for you.

It turns out that is owned (and thus sponsored by) Youíll see their name on every page, along with a link to their shopping site. Theyíve been in business since 1988 and are committed to the long haul. The forums have more than five thousand registered users (which probably means that there have been half a million viewers, given the 1-percent rule). Itís not unusual to find a hundred registered experts online on a slow Sunday afternoon.

Pick up the phone and call them, and youíll be amazed to discover spectacular customer service. Youíll find reps who are happy to give you their names and, more important, are willing to spend twenty minutes with you to figure out exactly what you need and want. Or you can buy the card online, using a cluttered but ultimately straight forward step-by-step system.

Less than a minute after your order is processed, youíll receive an e-mail confirmation. Another e-mail shows up after the item is shipped, which will probably be that day or the next.

Why so much emphasis on customer service?

Because of the bulletin boards.

By delighting each and every customer, the EVDO folks create an ongoing reservoir of goodwill and word of mouth. Soon after you are hooked up with your new card, two things happen. First, you tell all of your business buds how cool the EVDO technology is. And then you tell them exactly where to go to buy a system of their own.

It took less time and cost less money to build this community than it would have to build a mini-chain of successful reseller stores in a city like Chicago. The difference is that keeps growing, keeps spreading, and keeps getting more profitable.