Take a lesson from Juno

Juno, the free ISP, has a problem: Too many of its users are using the service way more than Juno wants them to. It's come up with an interesting way to fight users who consume too much of its bandwidth:

Try to suck down too much content (whether MP3s, porn MPEGs or the latest recount news), and Juno will slap even more blinking, flashing ads on your screen than it already does. Keep it up, and you'll just get disconnected during peak usage periods.

Of course, there's a catch: Many bandwidth hogs don't consider themselves to be hogs. Rather than taking the increased advertising count and the more frequent line-drops as a subtle sign that they should sign up for Juno's $9.95/month service (with no ads and no line-drops), it is likely that a number of users will simply get frustrated with Juno's service and depart for other ISPs.

In any case, there's a lesson in here for IT departments on how to handle your own bandwidth hogs - those users who've turned on Napster or like to take in their favorite soccer match in real time.

Don't just monitor -- and report on -- exactly what these users are doing with all that bandwidth. It only gets you into privacy issues you don't want the headache of figuring out.

Instead, figure out appropriate bandwidth levels for specific job positions and functions. Monitor that overall usage, and when users regularly exceed their levels, then take action. But even then, be careful -- have set policies for dealing with bandwidth abuse. Nothing looks worse than the arm of Big Brother reaching down from corporate to smack an employee.

This story, "Take a lesson from Juno" was originally published by Network World.

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