NetZero NotZero?
December 26, 2000 2:59 PM   Subscribe

NetZero NotZero? The "Free ISP" as a business model is now virtually extinct, with NetZero's announcement that, as of Jan. 1st, it'll charge $9.95 to "professional users" who are online more than 40 hours a month. Does anybody here care? (Probably not, but it's been such a bad day for new posts on MeFi, I had to do something.)
posted by wendell (11 comments total)
It is not uncommon that products and/or services are offered free for PERSONAL use, whereas, non-personal and non-educational "licensees" are required to pay a fee.
posted by chrish at 3:10 PM on December 26, 2000

... and no. I do not care (sorry).
posted by chrish at 3:11 PM on December 26, 2000

Yeah, but they are simply defining "professional" as anyone who's on-line over 40 hours a month (when they are probably mostly just poverty-stricken internet-junkies like m... uh, nevermind.

Besides, if putting ads in the user's face has any value in general, why wouldn't it be MORE valuable for the heavy users, instead of less (of course, just because they're charging for the online time, doesn't mean they'll STOP feed ing the ads...).
posted by wendell at 3:22 PM on December 26, 2000

I'd drop Netzero and get a proper ISP. Among the free ISPs I hear AltvaVista is pretty decent.
posted by riffola at 4:32 PM on December 26, 2000

The company behind Altavista's free ISP service was pretty decent.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 4:44 PM on December 26, 2000

AltaVista's already dead. Its provider, 1stUp, closed it's virtual doors a few days ago. So did Spinway, which provided the KMart/Yahoo strange bedfellowing called, but KMart is keeping the service open (for now) as a promotion device for its apparently-booming web store.

Boy, am I losing coolness points for admitting I know all about these... wait a minute... I never HAD any coolness points.
posted by wendell at 4:45 PM on December 26, 2000

Here's an article all about it.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:42 PM on December 26, 2000

The obvious solution, to me at least, is simply to have multiple NetZero accounts. Who will know? I believe I have two, I got one just for those occasions when travelling and unable to connect into my normal server, and then in a computer changeover forgot my information, so I just got a second account.

But when AT&T Worldnet is offering up to 150 hours for $4.95/mo, and hundreds of small ISPs offering unlimited accounts for less than $10/mo, there really is not much place for freebie ISPs anymore.
posted by Dreama at 7:31 PM on December 26, 2000

About nine months ago I decided to give all the ad-based ISP's a test drive. Not only was it extremely informative as to just how ineffectual banner advertising can be, it also made me appreciate how successful it could become.

I got used to glancing at the ad window while a site loaded, and occasionally I'd do my part and click-through those that interested me.

Now I've grown accustomed to this symbiotic little relationship. Now I'm actually willing to exchange my personal demographic information in exchange for goods and services. So why is it that all the ad-based providers are suddenly folding?

Is the demographic data not as valuable as once thought? Or is it that no one is exploiting its full potential?
posted by johnnyace at 11:09 PM on December 26, 2000

Slightly tangential: There's a guy who worked at one of my gigs this year who actually signed up for multiple "ad-vantage" programs where he ran a little http app in the corner that monitored his browser usage and rewarded clicking on approved, advertised sites. So he also ran a little keyboard/mouse utility that would simulate "browsing behavior" while he wasn't around.

Every time I sat at his keyboard, I was surprised by windows opening unexpectedly and cursor movement I couldn't control.

Apparently, it earned him beer money, like $20/month.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on December 26, 2000

My experience with NetZero is that it usually has better dowstream speeds and fewer busy signals and disconnects than many pay ISPs out there. If you have a big enough monitor, the ad banner is easy to ignore.

The only thing I hated was the (deliberate, one assumes) quirk that, while it didn't obstruct retrieval of my POP-served work e-mail, its SMTP protocol refused to send out any email via a desktop-resident mail program which lacked the subdomain, so I couldn't use send email from home with my work address on it, as I had become accustomed to doing via my Erols account.
posted by MattD at 1:16 AM on December 27, 2000

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