has been acquired
August 16, 2000 1:32 PM   Subscribe has been acquired and squashed by Critical Path. "Critical Path will continue to offer RemarQ services" but "Critical Path will no longer provide free, Web-based access to newsgroups at " Augh! The best web-based usenet service is no more! I *loved* their convenient and fast interface. Now I'm back to awkward & clumsy for free web usenet... unless anyone has a better idea?
posted by Tubes (9 comments total)
If you really liked the service, how about trying out the free trial at and if that satisfies, *gasp* maybe actually pay for the service?

What's so wrong with paying for services? You get (usually) faster access, better uptime, and support.
posted by mathowie at 1:39 PM on August 16, 2000

Dude, who's your ISP? Most of them provide Usenet service as a matter of course. And then you can use real newsreader software and be done with icky web interfaces for good.

Anyway, I never trusted Remarq after they started offering direct, already-decoded downloads of everything in the *mp3* groups, for about 48 hours. Then not only did they kill that idea, they also stopped carrying the *mp3* groups entirely. And this was quite a while ago, not some Napster-trial-induced fear shutdown.

Oh well, judging from the news, may not survive too much longer either. Remember a few years ago when the big story on the Net was how Deja and others were going to take all our intellectual property, make tons of money off of it and completely commercialize Usenet in the process? Funny how things work out....
posted by aaron at 2:02 PM on August 16, 2000

Yeah, I looked into the free trial at but it's not a simple preview, it's a "sign-up with your credit card and get the first 30-days free and cancel if you hate it" kind of deal. If it's the Remarq interface then I know what it's like anyway.

I'm behind a firewall at work and have no access to a news server. My ISP at home is an employer-supplied web-access-only connection via Frontier - no news server access. (And I'd pay for a connection if I could even get DSL in my area yet.) Plus I'm on different PC's at different locations frequently - so it's nice to have web-based access, icky interface or no. Remarq's wasn't even icky...

"What's so wrong with paying for services?" Well, nothing, it's just that free usenet access is kind of an established tradition - had been around for so long it became part of my toolset. With all the other advertising-supported free web services out there, why can't someone make a go of usenet? But there's no Yahoo Usenet, doesn't have a discernible identity, and Remarq is gone. Sigh.
posted by Tubes at 2:20 PM on August 16, 2000

I used to be the Usenet dude for back when it was The Mining Company. After a few months of doing that I realized the only solution to Usenet is not to use it. They got a new guy there for awhile. He was pretty good. But it's up for grabs again.

Usenet used to be great, but it's too convoluted and filled with spam now. There's other, better ways to communicate with people. Like Metafilter. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 2:21 PM on August 16, 2000

So, *here's* an interesting drift-inducing question:

Do all the people who said "Ok, good; I don't have to archive Usenet; DejaNews's doing it" really *deserve* to get screwed?
posted by baylink at 2:40 PM on August 16, 2000

No. Deja's offered to unload their database, at least the part that's more than a year old.

Besides, go back more than a few years and you'll find that the idea of archiving Usenet at all tended to elicit responses somewhere between "that goes against the entire meaning of Usenet" to "why should someone else make money off posts I wrote for free?" Not many amongst the Usenet crowd that have have been there more than 2 years are so would be all that unhappy to see Deja fall over and die too.
posted by aaron at 10:24 PM on August 16, 2000

mathowie, remarq/supernews provides several different services. The one in question, the one that has been shut down is the free web based news service. The pay service is completely different, it is the traditional nntp service you normally get from an ISP. In fact, supernews actually resells its news services to ISPs, including my cable modem provider.

I used remarqs web based service at a former job, where depending on the IT department's particular mood we might or might not have nntp and telnet and ssh access through the firewall. When we didn't, remarq was the ticket to my usenet fix.

I also payed for remarq's nntp service for a couple of years so that I could use a proper newsreader when I did have access through the firewall. Before that, I used it because it had better retention than my former ISP's news server.

So there definately is a difference between paying for the service and getting it for free. The free service wasn't available for a price, and the for pay service is unuseable for many of the people that used the free service.

With deja dropping in quality by the day there is definately room for a quality archive andb based news service. Apparantly it must not be profitable. I'd love for some hardcore geeks to pick up Deja's archive and run with it, there is so much useful information archived and flowing by, even if it diluted by spam. Discussions like MeFi are great, but the lack of threading, the fact that many of them don't get archived, the lack of a centralized place to search across a myriad of discussions and the often less than useful search facilities make them a pale comparison to the potential that Deja had.
posted by mutagen at 3:01 AM on August 17, 2000

Remarq was evil. They scanned a whole slew of mailing lists and listed them on their site as though they were lists Remarq offered, and kept archives on their site. I had to go to admin approved subscriptions on webdesign-L to keep them out. What a pain in the butt.
posted by schampeo at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2000

mutagen - thanks for the Remarq/Supernews clarification.

schampeo - I don't know if Remarq "scanned a whole slew of mailing lists" or not, but if so, it didn't affect my access to a couple of important newsgroups. Evil or not, they had a great interface for news, and I hope someone picks up where they left off.
posted by Tubes at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2000

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