Trick or Treat: Free Offer Goes After the Ghosts in the Machines

Carl Weinschenk

This is a is clever marketing gimmick: Halloween is the scary holiday, and nothing scares IT departments and those charged with security at smaller firms more than viruses, spyware, and other forms of malware.


Hoping to push their names through the logical association, software developer CyberDefender and tech support outfit Quatrro are offering free support for business and home computers on the last day of October.


The evolution of telecommunications during the past several years has created a big business in online remote diagnostics and repair. Not only are the broadband capabilities now in place to make this possible, but the workforce is far more dispersed and more often in need of such services.


This Wall Street Journal item points to three companies in the business. YourTechOnline charges $79 per hour and PlumChoice $90 per hour, both with volume discounts. The third company,, charges $39 to $99, depending on the nature of the problem.


This is a small story on NetworkStreaming and its SupportDesk Appliance 300. In addition to the description of the new device, the piece is valuable in its listing of several companies in the sector, including Citrix's GoToAssist, LogMeIn Rescue, NTRsupport and Symantec's pcAnywhere.


Earlier this year, OfficeMax began offering a service, and Cox Communications is getting into the act. Such services are a natural outgrowth of each company's core business. OfficeMax sells to consumers and folks who work from home and the cable operator has a beachhead into its subscribers' homes. Cox -- like Best Buy's Geek Squad, with which it competes -- offers to roll vehicles to its customers' homes if the issue cannot be resolved over the broadband connection.

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