With pretty much no effort, it got picked up by theNextWeb, RWW, BoingBoin and others: http://www.wifis.org/p/press
He only told me about it today and I haven't seen it on HN before, so I told him the Hacker News community would be a good place to get some feedback.
He hasn't tried monetising it yet, but I'm trying to convince him there is something there. In my mind it could be the 'AirBnB of WiFi networks'. What do you think?
You may already be doing this, but then you need to add/build the following:
- A way to actually take/manage payments from your neighbors.
- A way to manage access to the Wifi network (it's kind of like Lockitron for your wifi network in this way)
Once you have the idea simplified and the tools required to make this work end-to-end, as a potential user I'd rename my network to "RENT ME: Awesome Wifi Network" and see what happens.
Food for thought!
This is called 'disruption'.
I'm sure they could cut me off if they didn't like what I was doing, but they could cut me off at-will so it's not worth trying to read their mind.
What about having bitcoin payment for x minutes of access to the hotspot? :)
I'm at someplace new, where I don't have internet. I see if there are any open networks, no dice, but I see an encrypted network as www.wifis.org/poop. I think "oh, great, maybe my neighbor is friendly and I'll just go ahead and emai-- wait, I don't have internet, so I can't even visit the link."
Later I'm at a coffee shop seeing if FiOS is available in my area or double checking whether or not I live in Kansas City, and I think "oh, right that URL", but by then it's already disappeared from my SSID list.
Who's gonna have the forethought to write the URL down?
Explicit instructions in the SSID itself might encourage people to jot something down when they do finally get internet access. SSIDs are limited to 32 chars. The best I could come up with was:
ask me for access:email@example.com
I see very clear benefits over just putting your email address in your SSID. 1)Anonymity 2)Users may learn to trust the wifis.org brand. People can leave feedback about you on the site. I kind of see it as a couchsurfing for wifi.
That being said, I wouldn't bother trying to monetize. It can't cost him more than a few bucks a month to run this and unless he changes the product a bit (either provide higher value or larger market), I don't see monetization being particularly successful. Right now it is a great resume builder and a way to promote other projects that may be more lucrative (e.g. "Hey remember the guy from wifis.org, well now he's working on X"). If he's really worried about the hosting costs, he can put a donate button on the page.
I really do want to like this idea, but I just can't see the benefit of it. Worse still, there's nothing to stop me adding my own e-mail address to my SSID and short-cutting wifis.org entirely.
That said, the concept has potential, but I think it needs to branch in a slightly different direction. Maybe the site can be used to search for people who offer up their wireless as free hotspots. Or have interesting intranet services (eg clubs could have some of their local bands content available to download, but only from their Wifi intranet for wifis.org members). At least then they've created an infrastructure where a community can grow in a way similar geotagging. As it stands, I suspect people will sign up and then forget about this service in a couple of weeks time. Which is the opposite of how social networks grow (where people are encouraged to return frequently).
Actually, I might set up that wifi geotagging idea myself...
Email spam should be prevented by the captcha - check http://www.wifis.org/example
People could just name their network after an e-mail address if they wanted to be contacted..
I guess the user has to contact the owner from a different device that has internet access.
and why not just rename my SSID to ContactMeForFreeWifi@somemail.com ?
How about some software which actually lets the other person with no internet access contact me ( via WiFi ), of course security should be taken care of .
what i intend is that anyone can use it, particularly for emergencies, but that you don't use it so much you damage my performance (or break the law).
i kind of assumed that was obvious. but in practice i need to ban someone about every 6 months. i just use the mac address to drop everything except port 80 tcp, which gets sent to a "you were banned because..." page.
that works fine - people aren't smart enough or motivated enough to work round the mac block - but it's too late, in that the person has lost all access as part of learning about the expected use.
so, anyway, for me that's what needs to be solved here - educating users about what is acceptable use of open wifi. i'm not really sure this solves it (i doubt people will actually look at the url in the ssid).
[edit: i do understand what you mean; but currently this is implemented just as a wifi endpoint (no router - just wifi) on an internal network and some iptables rules.]
On your mark, get set, file your bogus software patents!
One problem with SSIDs for messaging is how their display is often truncated. (iOS's wifi screens are a bad offender here.)
Edit: Hey, the meshnet project is really taking off...
This is not hyptothetical. It happened to a friend of mine, she has to pay around 1500€ I think.
I've also though about setting up a guest network that routes over Tor. This way none of the traffic could be traced back to me.
Basically, I would love to provide free wifi for neighbors to use that is limited to a few mbps, but I don't want to have to deal with the legal risks associated with this.