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July 10, 2006

Don't be a Wi-Fi Mooch

The Boston Glob has an interesting article about wi-fi mooches. You know them. They find a free wi-fi hotspot and camp out. Maybe it is a cafe that has free Internet Access. They show up, buy some token item if anything at all, and stay all day using the Internet.

Some wireless users sneak in their own food with their laptops. Others buy one cup of coffee at 9 a.m. and surf the Net until closing time. And the truly audacious sit for hours without making any pretense of a purchase.

In and around Boston, cafe owners who installed wireless signals to draw customers say they also are drawing Internet users who tie up seats for hours, buy little or nothing, and make coffee shops feel like the office as they tap away at their laptops. Now some owners are fighting back by charging for wireless access, shutting off their signal at peak business hours, or telling loitering laptoppers to shell out or ship out.

``There comes a time when you have to tell people, `Look, you've been here for three hours, and you've bought only a cup of coffee and it's time to move,' " said Adam Goldberg , owner of Emack & Bolio's in Jamaica Plain. ``We had points in time when people would sit for six or seven hours and not buy anything."

Well, it gets worse. In California, a cafe had a guy arrested over stealing their signal outside their shop. (sorry no link posted)

Posted by Justin at July 10, 2006 11:14 AM