The World's Largest Internet Cafes
September 4, 2001 4:46 PM   Subscribe

The World's Largest Internet Cafes 800 or so FAST HP workstations, flat-panel Samsung displays, high-speed Internet access at incredibly CHEAP rates ($1 gets you started, $2 OR LESS per hour). Should have one of these in every town.
posted by {savg*pncl} (35 comments total)
Should have one of these in every town

You don't need 800 internet kiosks when everyone in the US has their own connectivity at home. I prefer the wireless 802.11 access that's quickly becoming ubiquitous in coffee places here.
posted by mathowie at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2001

I used these cafes during my recent vacation in Madrid and Barcelona. The HP workstations did not seem particularly fast (or else the cafe's network is slow). They are cheap though.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2001

I don't know if it's true or just PR spin, but I read that the outpost of this company is doing well in Times Square. Well, since I don't get Times Square, it shouldn't be surprising I don't get this success either.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:58 PM on September 4, 2001

It was good to check emails, when I went to New York and my mobile wouldn't work (wrong band).

They even have an unlimited tariff at my local one (Tottenham Court Road). £15 a month gets you 24 hour access. Good if you live nearby, but mainly a PR stunt. Stelios (the owner) is very, very good at those.
posted by nedrichards at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2001

Oh, I dunno about that, mathowie: EasyEverything has been pretty damn successful in the UK, among people who have home net access (and work access) but want something to bridge the two. (The lengthy commute in places like London means that you're likely to go home when it's time to sleep, rather than an evening online.)

One of the advantages is its access to top-quality kit: scanners, colour printers, graphics manipulations apps -- the sort of stuff you'd like to use, but not necessarily buy. And not everyone has a 802.11-equipped laptop.

The quirk here is that Stelios applies EasyJet's pricing scheme to net access: turn up when there's no-one around, and you'll get more minutes for your money.
posted by holgate at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2001

These are ok but have not done overly well in US. They often are used to meet babes. Nice thing is you can buy coffee rather than umbrella drinks and save money,
When out of the house and far from computer, I use local libraries. Free. Seldom crowded.
posted by Postroad at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2001

I can remember the days when a business called Easy Everything near Times Square would have a very different connotation.
posted by machaus at 5:14 PM on September 4, 2001

I love coffee and the internet, but I don't know if I'd want to hang out here.

I did notice on my last trip to Alaska that internet cafes are all over that state. But they are individually owned and the few I went into had a homey feel. The rates were a bit more however, about $5 for 15 minutes.
posted by culberjo at 5:22 PM on September 4, 2001

Well, Internet kiosks and cafes of any sort are good when you're not at home, and don't own a portable computing device (or one that functions with any regularity, like mine.)

I was in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1999, and there was an Internet cafe there (not one of these high-speed thingies, though) and it would have been useful to me if my relatives hadn't been not so hot on me getting online when we were supposed to be Enjoying Our Vacation.
posted by Electric Elf at 5:25 PM on September 4, 2001

These internet cafes have been around for a long time and have been tremendously successful in southeast Asia. The real explosion has been in Korea with PC Bangs (bang = room) where customers pay as little as $1 USD/hr to play many of the more popular online computer games. Games like StarCraft have really brought gaming rooms to the mainstream.

For people in Asia, these game rooms are a necessity, since living in a 500 sq ft apartment affords little space for a computer in the home, and broadband Internet is a real luxury. It also gives the youths a hangout; a place to relax and have fun for a reasonable price.

These internet cafes are sprouting up in Toronto now too. This summer, I lived near "korean-town" (i.e. Yonge-Finch area), and these cafes are everywhere.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 5:28 PM on September 4, 2001

Am I alone in finding internet cafés vaguely creepy? Why couldn't they be individual, more like public phone booths, for quick e-mail checks and suchlike?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2001

Encountered the EasyEverything when I as in London last Spring, and DANG did I like it. Really cheap, especially when you weren't expecting on being able to access email for two weeks.

Only problem was I logged onto my work email, and some of the people's messages I read had auto-notification upon read set, so people instantly knew I was available via email. Curses!
posted by GriffX at 5:42 PM on September 4, 2001

'£15 a month gets you 24 hour access. Good if you live nearby, but mainly a PR stunt. Stelios (the owner) is very, very good at those.'

Yeah, Stelios is a bit of a marketing (and pricing) genius. What a character. Took on the entire European airline industry in ways a young Richard Branson or Freddie Laker could only dream of. I love how he decided to call the café brand '...everything' because the net is, well.. everything. (for those outside of Europe he starts all his brands with the word 'easy..')

In 1999 i lived in Victoria (London sw1) and its branch of easyeverything was, at the time, the worlds largest 'net café. Two massive floors of large nifty slim Samsung screens and funky lookin characters tapping away on them which was just one of the most awe inspiring technology sights imaginable. It looked like 'the future', and it was.

It used to cost £1 to stay ALL night. Which was fantastic considering the only way to be online here in England at the time was to pay more than that an hour for CALL CHARGES alone. I practically lived in the place for months.

London Victoria itself has more international tourests in the summertime than it has Britts and they all seemed to be in this café!. Even at 5am on a wednesday morning. Such a variety of people. I adored the place. In fact - i class that café and those months i spent living in it as a big inspiration in my life. For real. I was in no doubt from the very first minute of my initial visit that this brand and concept was going to do extremely well. Is doing too.. growing from just that one and NedRichards local to 21 equally massive ones worldwide in just two years and appears to be heading towards world domination. All power to them.
posted by Kino at 5:47 PM on September 4, 2001

One thing I noticed from this picture is that the kiosks aren't exactly private. Not that I'm going to look at pr0n or anything, but I don't want the guy next to me reading my email. Should there at least me some sort of divider between each monitor?
posted by jpoulos at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2001

We used the Kensington outlet when we visited London a year and a half ago.

Quite useful for a quick email fix and a spot of coffee.

The chairs could have been more comfortable, though. :)
posted by dewelch at 5:56 PM on September 4, 2001

The one in Times Square is definitely enormous, but the couple of times I've been in there (on a weekend), it's never been so crowded that you can't find a relatively quiet corner (or row) to settle into.

The one thing that really bugs me are the ads that are onscreen all the time. I'd gladly pay an extra dollar or two per hour to not have to put up with that.
posted by nstop at 6:02 PM on September 4, 2001

'The chairs could have been more comfortable, though. :)

Ha.. Every now and then those chairs used to POP without warning, Dewelch, and the wooden bodies of them, with the human bodies attached, would fly off the metal frame and shoot about 5 yards across the room. Pure comedy in a packed café.

'One thing I noticed from this picture is that the kiosks aren't exactly private'

Oh yeah Jpoulos, NO privacy whatsoever. I found that a bad point too. I just used to thank myself lucky that my chair hadn't spontaniously combusted yet. Everything else was a bonus.
posted by Kino at 6:09 PM on September 4, 2001

'The one thing that really bugs me are the ads that are onscreen all the time'

Didn't used to have adverts Nstop.. that's another bad point then :/
posted by Kino at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2001

yum... net-cafes...

/me drools.

over near portland is a place called 'victory pub/liberator pub' that had micro-brews and a 20 rig lan.

instant fun, just add... well nothing really, counterstrike was already installed there.

and the pizza place next door was good stuff too!
posted by jcterminal at 6:38 PM on September 4, 2001

I suspect the two niches they target are the A) super-lightweight users who only check their mail every few days and don't need or want a home PC/ISP account, and B) those travelling in a different city who aren't going to lug a laptop/PDA with it's own wireless account. Oh, and I guess C) The network gamers, at least those not so hardcore they already have their homebuilt briefcase PCs and lan parties... :) While I don't use Internet cafes here in Seattle- having the DSL at home, the very idea repels me- when I went to Belize this spring for two weeks, by day 4 or 5 I was feeling such an overwhelming need to check my email or just surf the web that I paid good money at the only Internet cafe on the island to stay 'connected'. Of course, it was also the only air conditioned building on Caye Caulker... I suspect they're making money on it.

But those niches are enough to keep making money, which I'm betting they are doing. I like to use the "movie ticket" rule, that if you can do something in a social setting for about the price of a movie ticket for the same block of time, it can be a fun low-cost evening. Now If only they served something other than "Chock Full O' Nuts"...
posted by hincandenza at 7:02 PM on September 4, 2001

Seeing the EasyEverything in the TCR gave me the real sense that London, which I'd moved away from 3 years previously, was moving on without me. It just felt like something out of "Snow Crash".
Places like it are fantastic while travelling - I found the cafes in Singapore invaluable while I was there last year. I don't see any need to use one here in Vancouver - the broadband access in downtown homes served by Novus is about as fast as you'll find anywhere. But I had noticed that most of the cafes here had some kind of korean connection - but didn't really have much of a clue why until now (thanks PWA_badboy.)
posted by pascal at 8:24 PM on September 4, 2001

Interesting comments regarding "niche" marketing and the general impersonal nature of this cafe. Definitely not a replacement for that home DSL account (still use a modem myself) but this particular incarnation serves a need and with some refinement could be a useful addition to the wired landscape.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 8:29 PM on September 4, 2001

Damn, with a place like that, I'd never leave. I wouldn't even buy a computer of my own, I'd just use theirs all day long.
posted by kingmissile at 8:31 PM on September 4, 2001

i've been to a couple net cafes... the ones i visited in the phillipines were pretty dope (probably 'cause i hadn't been online for weeks when i finally got a chance to get on one.) and relatively cheap. i've been to one in the U.S. and have been to it a number of times, for one reason... Counter Strike. It introduced me to the game, and keeps me coming back about once every other month... bah.

two nearby malls even have set up free "cyber-stations" where people can just randomly do stuff on the internet for free, after answering an age/sex question.

i like the idea of more private stations though... yeah, i'd be a lot more motivated if it was a sealed room (and not so i can look at porn, mind you....).
posted by lotsofno at 8:41 PM on September 4, 2001

I suspect the two niches they target are the A)... B)... C)...

The NYC site is rarely visited by non-tourists. The cachet of an NYC presence probably figured highly in the company's thinking.

on the other hand, there is a company which has set up free e-mail/Web kiosks in certain public transportation hubs of NYC. A very good idea, particularly in a city with big buildings and lots of cell phone-dead subways and spaces.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:49 PM on September 4, 2001

PWA_badboy is right. Internet cafes are huge in Asia. I live in Japan and they are everywhere. They are also seemingly everywhere in China, as my friend who is travelling through China has been able to keep in touch with me about her stop here. Very useful.
posted by chiheisen at 1:20 AM on September 5, 2001

You can't read porn in them - or quite a few other sites either. There was a fuss recently that was being barred by the filters in use at Easy Everything's cafes.
posted by kerplunk at 5:02 AM on September 5, 2001

I was going to say something about how much the original post sounded like an advertisement, but now I'm amused at the thought of kerplunk reading textfile pr0n in a really really small font, hoping no one is looking over his (or her) shoulder....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:56 AM on September 5, 2001

I was just in Edinburgh, and used the EasyEverything there. The best part was that since I only used the cafe during low use time periods, my two pounds lasted an entire week.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:07 AM on September 5, 2001

Paris, I don't even HAVE a cell phone and I agree with you about the dead areas in New York. Won't somebody please think of the children and wire the subways?!?
posted by Pyth at 10:55 AM on September 5, 2001

I'd love to know if, or how, Stelios can turn a profit with these enterprises. Sure, it's all about volume, but with his car rentals, it makes little sense.

He charges from $13.50 USD a day to rent a car. Now, I read that he can get each A Class Mercedes within $15k. Even so, that's still 3 years of everyday operation to just make up the cost of the car.. let alone profit, let alone maintainence, let alone staff or premises..

Ditto for his airline. And Ryanair amazes me too. How -can- they sell most of their flights for between $2 and $20 and still be in business?
posted by wackybrit at 11:32 AM on September 5, 2001

I don't think Ryanair actually do sell most of their flights that cheap. They twist the figures to make it seem that way. If you go in and actually buy the flight on days you want you suddenly find the price has doubled. But still they're really cheap. £47 return to Munich for a tasty mini break to the Christmas markets. Bargain.
posted by Summer at 11:44 AM on September 5, 2001

Yeah, it does seem that most of what he does has the traits of a 'loss-leader'. Perhaps once his brands have bankrupted everyone else to the point where he OWNS the western worlds commodities he'll mega-truple all his prices, turn into Baron Greenback the II'nd and get a skinhead to reveal the number of the beast etched deep in his scalp before enslaving us all to complete his Master Plan by painting everything there is to paint that sorta weird sickly wishy-washy orange colour he's so unnaturally obsessed with.
posted by Kino at 5:04 PM on September 5, 2001

i am going over to england (and also will be spending a few days in Paris) at the end of the year - so this sounds pretty nifty. bugga finding accomodation with the relo's - i'll just camp out every nite at one of these places! hehehehe

but - yeah. it'll be good to know there is somewhere nice and cheap where i can go and blog and stuff while i am over there. yay!

but if people who live in england know of better internet cafes i'd be haappy to hear about them.
posted by endorwitch at 7:11 PM on September 5, 2001

(Yeah.. my house!:)

You won't find more cost effective, convenient, functional and always accessable than easyeverything. Of course, for luxury in London, or any city centre, you gotta pay.

Some people prefer lounging in stylish neon lit caverns of opulent exhuberence caughing up £5 an hour for 56k access where everyone knows each other and new faces are rarely seen amidst the rich glowing halo of st elmos fire radiating from age old wax covered bottles but for clean, affordable, reliable, friendly, functional, impersonal access in an international setting amongst an ever changing backdrop of the worlds most interesting, varied and friendly characters where you can feel free to relax in your own vibe whilst settling into your tasks.. easy's the way. Enjoy your stay ^__^
posted by Kino at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2001

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