By Barbara DeLollis
We all have stories about poor quality or non-functioning Wi-Fi when on the road trying to communicate and get work done, right?
So, if you’re like me, you’ll be just as curious as I was about a new app called “Rotten WiFi.” The iOS version hit Apple’s app store the first week of April; Android users will find a version next month. The free app hopes to do for public Wi-Fi providers what sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have done for hotels and restaurants.
It operates on the basic premise that people who have had the bad luck to have stumbled upon awful or non-existent Internet signal will want to vent their displeasure in a friendly form – and also share those comments with friends via their social media networks.
The Rotten WiFi app lets users score specific Wi-Fi venues – whether an airport, a hotel or neighborhood network – on a 0-to-10 scale. A 10 indicates excellence.
If the Wi-Fi signal is so lousy that you can’t even submit a “0” rating, the app will save your review and broadcast it once you’ve finally found a reliable signal.
If you’ve got a particularly noteworthy bad-Wi-Fi story, you also have the ability to share your experience with friends via Twitter, Facebook, Google and FourSquare.
The app ups the snark factor with an option to include pre-written comments such as “Craptastic!” as well as basic lines such as “Your credit card expires when ordering on-line.” Expect to see comical cartoons (such as the one above) about bad Wi-Fi, too.
The app makers’ goal? Catch the attention of Internet providers – and force them to up their game so people don’t have to complain.
“We want to empower all users around the world to ‘watchdogs’ of unsatisfactory Internet connection and invites everyone to be ambassadors of their cities, helping keep them clean from rotten WiFi. The main goal is to encourage people to fight back against poor WiFi and 3G connections,” Rotten WiFi app co-founder Arturas Jonkus said in a press release.
Although the circumstances were different, I recently had an experience in Barcelona that made me particularly sensitive to the issue of not being able to access Wi-Fi easily.
I was attempting to check into my apartment in a non-touristy Barcelona neighborhood where English speakers were nowhere to be found and I had neither international cell service nor Wi-Fi.
When I walked up to the apartment building, my heart sank. Instead of finding a smiling doorman or front desk clerk, I discovered a locked glass door with instructions in Spanish and a phone number that I could not call. I had to find a solution.
As many of you know, I’m not shy and I do have some rusty Italian that I prayed would suffice. I tried to get several people to help, even trying multiple cafes (all with my luggage in-tow). Finally, I found a cafe that had Wi-Fi (pronounced wee-fee there). I sat down, ordered a beer and some tapas, then emailed my colleague. And life was again good.
Readers: Have you ever had a nightmare Wi-Fi experience somewhere? Tell us about it!