Joltage Networks, the operator of Internet access hotspots based on the IEEE 802.11b standard also known as Wi-Fi, has reportedly called it quits.
On Sunday, company officials sent an email to subscribers saying Joltage plans to shut down by the end of the month, according to the Wi-Fi Networking News site, a web log started by freelance journalist Glenn Fleishman.
“Because of the difficult economy, we are no longer able to finance our operations as we had once hoped we would be able to,” the CEO wrote in the email.
The tone is a stark contrast to the upbeat rhethoric of a year ago when Joltage was launched by Silicon Alley veteran Andrew Weinreich, who was founder and CEO of sixdegrees.com and later sold the online community to Youthstream Media Networks for $125 million.
But Joltage’s success really relied on the concept of revenue-sharing — a marketing vehicle popularized by online communities during the dot-com craze that tried to squeeze revenue from a user base.
In Joltage’s case, the relationship was between the network and so-called “micro-WISP.” Joltage would provider an interested party with free software that integrated with back-end services, including authentication, security, tracking, administration, billing, and payment solutions. The company even promised pay its partners for referrals.
“Unfortunately, it appears that it will take substantially longer than expected for the significant numbers of users we anticipated on such a network to materialize,” the company said in its email.