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The Almighty Buck

Juno, NetZero To Merge Into 2nd-Largest ISP 104

elliotc writes: "As free Internet access comes to an end, the last remaining players, Juno and NetZero, are uniting (no pun intended) to form United Online. The combined company hopes to stay alive in the face of AOL, MSN, and Earthlink and to further marginalize smaller companies."
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Juno, NetZero To Merge Into 2nd-Largest ISP

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    NetZero/Juno could license the use of Opera as their browser. This solves a couple of problems: 1) Opera already has a spot to post ad banners that can be turned off if you have a paying account and 2) Opera runs on Windows AND Linux (as well as other OSs). This would allow those of us using multiple OSs to access the ISP from any of them. Now if we could just prod Opera into understanding ALL IE and Netscape subtleties :-) Currently, I use NetZero and Juno as absolute, last ditch, hell-freezes-over access to the web when my cable doesn't work. So I currently dial in every couple months to make sure the account still works.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2001 @09:08PM (#166911)
    ... And not a day goes by that the person on the other end of the phone doesn't have Juno or NetZero, why you ask? Because our service is such crap they actually need it to get on somtimes, even though some of the numbers are exactly the same.

    MSN, like most other ISPs, do not use their own equiptment for the POPs, they rent or lease then from uunet, qwest, etc. This is painfully obvious when making a manual dialup connection you have to use MSN/ front of the username.
  • You suggest Slashdot as a microcosm to demonstrate your theory, basically stating that the people who got Internet access later because it was available free are somehow inferior to "old-timers". If that's the case, consider this:

    Your /. UID is 211,082. Mine is 108. Assume for a moment that it means I was here before you were. Does that mean that I'm more educated, more wealthy, more entitled to hold an opinion or more worthy of having Internet access than you are? By your reasoning, it does, but I don't buy it. Doesn't seem so reasonable when the shoe's on the other foot, eh?

  • Well, if you want to get pedantic about it, the continent's name is "North America" not "America". I would think that most people understand that America=USA. When you refer to the continent use "North America" to avoid confusion.
  • Or you can just become one of the Admin's at your ISP. :-) Besides ISDN was so much cheaper when your company is comping it for you.

    kashani
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:35PM (#166915) Homepage Journal
    This would be a great application of Mozilla code. These folks need to build a branded version of Mozilla and distribute it as 'their' browser, bundling in all the tools and services (as well as the advertising thingies they need to keep the service free). It's just too risky using IE or the Netscape-branded version of Mozilla -- these browsers are distributed by their two biggest competitors!
    --
  • Great job on the story selection there, timothy. I read about this after lunch on Yahoo!. Surely there are better things in the submission queue than stories recycled from the major portals.

    How about some "Stuff that matters"?
  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @11:16PM (#166917)
    I'm an Internet "oldster" .. I was surfing the Web as far back as 1996 and can assure some of the newer members here that the Internet used to be a much more productive tool.

    Oh dear God, would you please STFU? Having Internet access since 1996 does not make you an "oldster". I had my first shell account with Internet access back in 1988, and I don't consider myself an oldbie. I remember when Gopher was the biggest damn thing ever, and thinking that this stupid web thing was never going to replace it. Other people I know remember life before DNS.

    I'm all for universal net access. If you collected all of the master's degrees and PhD's from my friends, you'd find an astonishing array of really interesting specialties, but almost none of them are computer-oriented in any way. It frustrates the hell out of me that I can't communicate with them online because they consider net access to be too low a priority to pay much for it, and because elitist cranks like you run around thinking using Netscape 3 in 1996 makes you a freaking veteran.

    We're technicians, goddamnit, and despite the tendency of technical people to grossly overestimate their own intelligence, there are plenty of smart and interesting people in other fields. Bring 'em on! And if that means we have to deal with semi-literate trailer trash, well, using spell-checker output to trigger filtering software will get rid of 99% of them.

    (And those annoying people who are too lazy to use the shift key and punctuation.)

    --

  • Don't make assumptions. Here's my stats:

    On the internet (Usenet) since 1988.
    College degree.
    Married to a Professor.
    Make a 6 figure income.
    Used Linux since June 1993.
    /. user ID less than 10,000

    AND

    I have 4 fully logged in FIRST POSTs.

    BUT

    I don't recall posting a www.goatse.cx link, until now, that is.

    So, besides that, all I have to say is quit whining. It does no good and it annoys the pig, or something like that. Everything changes. Things will stay the same until there is a revolution. No revolution starts itself. No revolution is ever started at home. That implies that whining about the sad state of affairs in a place where the sad state is exemplified is counterproductive. Thus, your imperative is to go out from here, and start a revolution. Ahhhh, whining is easier.

  • Having spent a year manning the phones at Earthlink in thier cutstomer service department, I wonder what advertisers would expect to gain by advertising on a free ISP service. They are trying to market products to people who are too cheap to pay for an ISP, what makes you think they are going to want to buy anything else.

    I had a hard enough time trying to convice people that the 19.95 we were charging them was for a subscription based service. You pay for it, it's up to you to use it. If you didn't use it, tough luck. You don't argue with the paper boy that you didn't read sunday's edition, he still dropped it off at your door step.

    Maybe there is something more to be said about the number of people who would call me 2 days before thier account was ready to be billed and would cancel so that they could go buy some groceries. If you are living that close to the wire maybe it's time to rethink your priorities.
    ----
    "War doesn't determine who's right, just who's left"

  • You only merge for one reason: Economies of scale
    Yes, but unbeknownst (it seems) to some business people, scales are NOT infinite. In any company there is a right size to your operation, and going beyond that invites diminishing returns. So does "branching out" into non-core interests (Vivendi-Seagrams-Universal, anyone??!)

    A movie at matinee prices is the *SAME* movie you'll see at regular evening rates.

    Except in Canada, where they charge more on holidays and weekends for matinees. Oh, and Cineplex was charging more on Friday and Saturday nights as well.

    I have to agree with the poster/troll above: you get what you pay for. If you're not paying for Net access, you'll have to prepare for a certain level of bullshit to get it.

    I say this doesn't last a year. Dead pool, anyone?
    P0pe
  • Whoever moderated this as insightful, and not as troll, was fairly foolish.

    --

  • by crimoid ( 27373 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @10:10PM (#166922)

    NetZero and Juno are old courtroom buddies, having both sued each other in the past. Now they are merging? I don't tend to be a conspiracy theorist but this sounds odd to me.

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4290897.html [cnet.com]

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1993249.html [cnet.com]
  • Hmm.. I remember getting my first email on BBS's back in the late 80s. I got a VAX/VMS account in 1991 and used pine. I got a SunOS account in 1993 and used plain mail. i read newsgroups via tin. I browsed the web with Lynx until my friend finally got SLIRP working halfway right on the SunOS machine, but I still preferred Lynx. I didn't worry about "graphical" browsing until Netscape/IE 3.x series.

    Am I still a newbie?

  • by cowboy junkie ( 35926 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:58PM (#166924) Homepage
    If you lose money on every subscriber, how does your free ISP stay afloat?

    Through volume...
  • yeh, if you never used an acoustic 110 looks like AND know how to whistle 300 baud, you aint an oldster, young'un...

    if ya cant name 3 3AreZ groups that were around when it was /almost/ cool to speak in hacker, you havent been around long enough...

    kids these days.

    no respect i tell ya...

    and now i hit the "post anonymously" button
    tagline

  • by puppetluva ( 46903 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:12PM (#166926)
    Here's an excerpt from the merger documents that I happened to see at our law offices. . . "the asset value of the combined entities will be net zero"

    I couldn't resist, don't Juno it.
  • ok, we know about juno's new policy of requiring cycles on their customer's machines for running distributed apps. adding netzero's customers means they've got several million machines to crunch numbers for them; it's not about the ad revenue, it's about the (possible) revenue from selling those cycles to someone.
  • Signal-To-Noise ratio, as you put it, will simply go up with the popularity of any service/product. As something appeals to the masses, you get exactly that, the masses at large accessing this service. Maybe this is a representation of society as a whole? We can complain til we are blue in the face, but that doesn't cure the problem. The only solution is to be proactive and educate where you can.

    Everyone Love Free... it a marketing ploy... nothing is free. You can think of it that way anyway. In some way or another, money is changing hands. Cable television and advertising is probably the best example. Expect to see more "forced viewing" of advertisements. The option of paying straight out dollars will always aleviate most of this forced viewing. GameSpy Arcade is an example of this... as occassionally it does force you to view an add. Everything is being paid for in some aspect... and this of course does produce some economic activity.

    Lower bandwidth... eh... simply an inflamatory statment. I merely repoint to my last statement sighting that money does change hands.

    Think positvely, embrace change, and simply try to live a happy life... I think...

  • Give it time my friend.

    Small ISP's that are getting fat and tastey are great treats for the eat-em-up corporate world.

    Of course they can always opt not to sell...

    *evil laugh*

    Oh well, more reasons to move to canada. Good beer and small town ISP's. ;)
  • by Cylix ( 55374 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:25PM (#166930) Homepage Journal
    Sigh... Mostly the comment after the article explanation. Here even in smalltown USA we have seen a serious decline in mom and pop shop ISP's (their last thriving palace).

    Having worked for one and now coporate amercia(tm) I really do miss the old times.

    I guess all good things are destined to go down this path.

    At least I can look forward to being an old man getting to complain about how things used to be. ;)
  • I had an account at netzero signed up used it for a couple days. Then maybe 13 or 14 months later tried it again cuz i was wondering if my accounts were still active and they worked. dont know if they still keep inactive accounts open that long...
  • There are millions and millions of people on Netzero...how is that a small user base? There are alot of people who just use it to check email once a day. What is the point in paying for such a small net usage if you don't have to?
  • Thank you for calling Netzero Technical Support, how may I help you?

    You want to cancel your account?

    Ok Sir, unless the accounts are actively maintained (some activity, email or otherwise) then they should become deactive within 2 months.

    Thank you for calling...
  • If Netzero counted every single user that had signed up for Netzero, Netzero have a bigger "user base" then AOL.
  • Ugh... I dont even want to imagine... one gives free net access, one free email, both have an optional pay service that no one uses... I can see a failed IPO and a Chapter 11 in the near future...

    [OT] On a positive note, heres [artificialcheese.com] a story at ArtificialCheese.com on the possible new iMac. (http://www.artificialcheese.com/articles/june01/i mac2001/ for the goatsex weary)

    Mark Duell
  • Oh, and by the way... 1996 is not an "internet oldster" by ANY stretch of the imagination.

    I agree totally. I was on in 93, and I'm certainly not. I'd say you'd have to be on :)
  • I've been saying it for several years now. The FREE Internet models we've seen are doomed. Looks like a just a little more time to proove me right.

    I guess there is a fundamental problem when people are really just cheap at heart. I know only a few really deep-down cheap people and guess what, they all use a "free" service because according to them, "why pay for something I can get free?"

    I long since stopped trying to help them with tech problems - I know they don't respect or value my time and knowledge.

    Really; phone lines cost money. Modems cost money. Staff costs money. BANDWIDTH costs money. Ad's don't cut it and won't cut it to pay the bills.

    Comon' people - crack open the pocketbook and PAY for something for once in your life. Get this garbage, 'er business model, off the 'net!

    -----

  • Common sense dictates that the majority of this crap is coming from uneducated, lower-class people at the very bottom of the wage scale.

    Common sense would never dictate something like this.

    But plain old snobism would.

  • It is all well to speak about how bad all the ISPs are (and I belive you), and it is all well to fear an internet where a few players can control what we are allowed to see (this is definitly the biggest threat in america today). But why not channel all that somewhere better?

    We all know modems suck, and ADSL(etc) has been slow in getting here, sometimes not working well, etc. So what would be better? Fiber backbone and ethernet (10Mbit/s is enough for most, but 100Mbit/s is just as cheap). Yeah right, troll, I can hear a storm of moderators scream. But then you are kidding yourself. Take a look at the RSN student network [rsn.bth.se] for example (the link is in Swedish, sorry folks).

    What was done (back in 95/96 sometime) was that we got the feed from the school and got our own equipment through sponsorships of different kinds. We had our own very nice network. And when the students move away, they just don't think a modem is useful anymore. So what they do is that they nag on their land lords, and want them to hook their houses up to the local fiber (Sweden got tons of fiber, write your congrassman on dead threes and complain if you feel inferior:)) and they put a switch and TP cabels in. Add a modest fee per month and you got a great connection, which is totally free of AOL and you can browse in which ever browser you want. Great huh?

    So, all of you slashdotters out there, who hate their modem and fear AOL, go nag on your land lords, tell them how much better people would like them and how people would want to move into their appartments if there is fiber there. Make your city put fiber all over town, go out do something.

  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @08:56PM (#166940)
    I'm not going to harp on the Internet "oldster" thing like the rest of the readers, though you deserve it - I don't think of myself as such because I've been on since 1994 - later than many others. You deserve whatever pounding you might receive from that little comment.

    Do you sound elitist? Of course. Do you care? no. Some people still want the free stuff because they either can't afford it (because they are young and their family don't want to pay for it) or they want to spend their money on better things than to subscribe to get hooked up to the Internet, which for all the benefits that it has, also has many drawbacks. Most of us here at Slashdot probably spend more time than we really should online. Come on! Go out and enjoy the summer (I really shouldn't talk, spending more than 15+ hours a day in front of the screen).

    If you really try to spend $100 a month on commercial software (and they are not games) then you are just plainly more foolish. You have bought into the franchise - you are going to subscribe to the software taxes (read: licensing fees) for the rest of your life so people like Bill Gates can get rich (I'm not going to knock Bill, I think he deserves to be rich). But for the most part, the "free" (as in beer) software that's out there is keeping us from getting completely assimilated into the software consumer farm-raising that large corporate software houses are trying to do - just like McDonald's and Disney are raising generation after generation of consumers who will be loyal subscribers from childhood, so have you succumbed to the same mentality for software. But that's just my opinion.

    And what exactly is wrong with giving Internet access to people? If there are companies willing to give that away, then go right ahead. Just because you paid for your connection it doesn't make you more legitimate or more "wholesome" (gag me, please). You consider it stolen bandwidth, well, suppose I paid more for my connection than you. Well, I can still consider that you have stolen bandwidth from me, because after all, I paid more for my connection, why should you have equal opportunity to get license? Why, ISPs should just give more priority to higher paying customers, and relegate whatever bandwidth that is left over to those who paid less. I'm sure you can see how quickly this will mean that the Internet will only be available to the richest people in the world while being, for all practical purposes, inaccessible to most people in the world (which is currently true, of course).

  • by msaulters ( 130992 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:27PM (#166941) Homepage
    is how these two can manage to stay in business in the face of massive advertising from giants AT&T and AOL. AT&T has service for $4.95/month, which *almost* anyone can afford. AOL is still pumping out free disks at an incredible rate, and I know from personal experience that their customer retention tactics are as inexorable as those of Scientologists. I didn't realize NetZero was still in business until just a couple of weeks ago I found out a friend of mine is using their service. I suppose they have a niche for the really poor or the really frugal, but what is the point of paying them to run your ads, in the face of such a relatively small subscriber base?
  • No thanks. I use Juno over the summer when I'm home from school and I'd prefer to not use that bloated piece of crap we refer to as Mozilla.

  • Actually, with this comment:

    I'm an Internet "oldster" .. I was surfing the Web as far back as 1996

    It should have been moderated up, but as "funny" rather than "Interesting".

    Sad thing is, I think the original poster was serious. If you were trying to be funny you'd say I'm an Internet "oldster" .. I was surfing the Web as far back as March.

    Face it, anybody who didn't access their first Internet email box in character mode is a newbie. And when I say character mode I don't mean email not including HTML, nor do I mean these wimp environments like Elm and Pine. Real Internet oldies read their mail using /usr/bin/mail, or if they were wimps, /usr/ucb/mail.

    Real Internet oldies who are true geeks wrote their own mail program using shell script, and they wrote the shell script using /bin/ed, not any of these modern editors like vi and emacs.

    Don't be deluded into thinking you know vi because you know vim either. If your first experience in Unix text editing was vim, you're a newbie on the Internet, a veritable infant.

    To be a real Internet oldie, you have to have sent email to an email address that involved explicit routing at some time in the past - it doesn't matter if it was a UUCP bang path or a percent hacked path, as long as it involved explicit routing.

    Anybody who thinks using the net since '96 makes you an oldie needs a serious dose of reality.

  • I have to say you have a point. Everyone in the world should have the priviledge of being connected to the internet, even if it isn't important enough for them to sacrafice HARD EARNED money for it. some people can't spare $15 all that easily, yet they still have a 486, netscape and a modem. I worked for Netzero for a long time and saw all kinds of people needing help getting connected (albeit considering the number of subscribers there were and how many calls we got it BLOWS my mind. less than 0.01% ever calling for support) It's people like those in this forum saying Netzero users have no right to bandwidth that are taking on the 3 year old 'gimme gimme gimme' attitude. it's Immature and small minded. Free dailup service is remarkably good for the price, and if only more advertisers would take interest these companies wouldn't be struggling.
  • particularly long-running back-and-forth chapter [cptech.org] in U.S. business-method patent litigation history.

    Sincerely,
    Vergil
    Vergil Bushnell

  • what is the point of paying them to run your ads, in the face of such a relatively small subscriber base?

    Travel

    Whenever I go on vacation or travel, I still check my email, read usnet and waste time on slashdot because I have NetZero on my laptop. I just plug it into the hotel phone jack and make a local call to my isp! It really is great. Having to sign up for internet service in some city where I would only be there for the weekend is kinda silly. So there's one reason why people use NetZero over AT&T.

  • Um ... you are aware, aren't you, that Slashdot is primarily a discussion forum, and not a news site, right? They may bill themselves as "news for nerds", but look around at the endless stream of Katz articles and such and you'll see that actual news is only part of what goes on.

    They pick whatever people might want to discuss. Apparently this is one of them. So stop yer whining!

  • My good sir, free stuff does undermine expolititive western capatilist economies. This is not a bad thing. What you suggested is a cummunist system, goo in theory but not in practise. Neither work, capatilisim jsut fucks things up (look around you id you don't believe me) but communisim puts too mcuh power in governments, whcih is equally dangerous.
  • If i remember your origional post corrrectly (a few hours ago so correct me if i'm wrong) But i was pretty much agreeing with you, jsut pointing out a few things that were entirely offtopic coz i was tired and irritable. My appoligies.
  • It is elitist fool like you, that caused the French revolution, *slaps* grow a brain. To assume that because a person is poor they have nothing to offer and that they shouldn't add on tenth of a second to your load time for Slashdot is the most moronic thing i have heard in a long time. As any service grows, the demand on it will increase and so will the supply, basic business rule. Would you rather the internet was as it was a few years back ,a tiny group people, little content, or would you rather have it expand, offer more and more to the world at large helping people learn and get access to essentials like p0rn. As other have pointed out here, it is far smarter to teach people than to tell them all to piss off.
  • I don't know how far-fetched this is, but given that they're going to rename themselves United Online, and given that Juno has this distributed-app thing going on, is it likely that this will have anything to do with United Devices [ud.com], a distributed computing company with several of the key players from distributed.net?

    -Nev
  • "Oh dear God, would you please STFU? Having Internet access since 1996 does not make you an "oldster". I had my first shell account with Internet access back in 1988, and I don't consider myself an oldbie. I remember when Gopher was the biggest damn thing ever, and thinking that this stupid web thing was never going to replace it. Other people I know remember life before DNS."

    Actually, compared to most people. This guy has been around for a long time.

    "We're technicians, goddamnit, and despite the tendency of technical people to grossly overestimate their own intelligence, there are plenty of smart and interesting people in other fields."

    I have a technical degree, that doesn't make me a technician. (An engineer, yes, technican no.) In my experience, I would say that most people have a hard time with new technology, because they are intimidated by it and not willing to experiement. The key point here is to experiment and learn from one's errors. That's how I learned things, but for many people, they would prefer to play it safe and stick with what they know.

  • SECOND... Free goods undermining western economies: I can't believe you just made that argument. It was ugly in the Grapes of Wrath and it's ugly today in technology. I personally believe that everything should be free. If I'm a farmer, I distribute my grain free to everyone in your family and extended family, and in return, you as a tractor-maker give me a tractor for free. After all, my farm produces much more food than I can possibly eat, and you as a tractor maker actually have little use for a tractor once it's built... But that's just an idyllic dream, of course.

    I think the point this guy wanted to make is that people using linux just because it was free and it was the greatest OS over for that instance only is pretty silly.
  • Communisim puts too much power in governments, whcih is equally dangerous.

    In a true communist state, the government is supposed to "fade away." This would never happen as most people who get power want to maintain it.

  • I personally believe that everything should be free. If I'm a farmer, I distribute my grain free to everyone in your family and extended family, and in return, you as a tractor-maker give me a tractor for free. After all, my farm produces much more food than I can possibly eat, and you as a tractor maker actually have little use for a tractor once it's built... But that's just an idyllic dream, of course.

    No, it's not a dream; in fact, it's how things operate under capitalism. A farmer produces more grain than he can eat, and needs a tractor, so he sells some grain, and uses it to buy a tractor. A tractor maker produces a tractor he can't personally use, and needs grain to eat, so he sells the tractor, and uses the money to buy grain. Money is just a convenient score-keeping system that allows us to barter our goods and services far more conveniently.

    What's more, this system automagically determines the 'correct' exchange rate between goods. If Bob will give me a tractor for a thousand bushels of grain, and Steve offers a similar tractor for five hundred bushels of grain, then I trade with Steve. Again, the directness of the trade is masked by using money as an intermediary.

    --

  • I think your missing something important, the kind of people that want to use net-zero don't want to go to slashdot and hang-out all day preaching to the converted.

    In short they just want to get their e-mail, and don't feel like paying for Internet access they never use (at least thats what the only netzero user I know told me).
  • well juno has the option of the official "you must use our ScreamSaver."

    This was discussed here [slashdot.org] on slash earlier this year.

    otherwise you have to sell them on the value of the "improved" service. For example, I think they charge 5 bucks a year(?) or something like that for the ability to do email attachments.

    for some folks that will do the job, they do not need broadband.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • I use AT&T worldnet at 4.95 a month, can't get it for Linux. Used to use AT&T broadband, can't get that for linux either. NetZero and Juno have never worked for linux. Of course MSN and AOL don't work for linux. A lot of DSL companies will not support Linux. I happen to think this is one big reason that linux is not succeding on the desktop.
  • I know from personal experience that their customer retention tactics are as inexorable as those of Scientologists.

    Uh, you're thinking of Earthlink [skeptictank.org]...

  • So they'll have 8 million people that (if Juno gets its way) can barely spend any time on the net without being harrassed to stop using so many hours.
  • by vectus ( 193351 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:18PM (#166962)
    the business model of netzero, with the reliability of juno..

    (yet somehow they'll still have a better service than AOL)

  • I find that here in Canada, or at least in Edmonton where I live, a lot of smaller ISPs are doing just fine. The big guys around here charge slightly higher prices for the most part, and provide slightly crappier service. Where the small ISP wins most of the time is with technical support. A lot of the time, an informed internet user will find an obscure (or at least a non-AOL-style) ISP that will let them do a standards-based PPP (or whatever) logon with no special software required.

    It gets to the point around here where the local and small ISPs are actually growing and are healthier than some of the bigger ones. There are probably more Interbaun [interbaun.com] customers in Edmonton than there are Sprint Canada, as an example. Interbaun is a locally-started ISP that has a lot of support behind it because they are cheap, fast, reliable and can also provide DSL (they sell the bandwidth over the telco's wires).

    A small ISP can survive if it is managed properly with a tip of the hat towards the customers "in the know". Referral services work great for them, friends sign up friends for free months, and so the chain goes. Just some ramblings.

  • When I was working for another of the large isps they considered pretty much the same situation with their 5.95 a month customers. One of the ideas I offered and they never took was the union with a personal email service like Mail.com [mail.com] but they are already free ...

    Would people pay for @heavypetting.com address ;)

  • isn't slashdot a free service? what's keeping them afloat? other revenue streams (VC maybe?). their main product isn't the internet service, they're an advertising company that advertises to people who dial into their servers. i agree that the free internet isn't doing so well, but that's in part because all the advertising on the internet is for other web sites. i really think that if traditional companies would start to advertise their core products (pepsi, tide, whatever) on the web that would give the kick that's needed. it's these types of advertisements that keeps the free tv service running, as well as free radio i would presume.
  • 1996 isn't an olderster, my friend... that's about when the world hopped
    on the Internet bandwagon...

    As for free Internet... there are a lot of kids out there who

    could've used something back in 91 or 92 to provide access

    (this is back when my favorite browser was Lynx, until I found the

    joy of a SLIP connection...) for free...

    Just because you're bandwidth hungry doesn't mean the service isn't valid.

    If 5K/s is something that bugs you so much, I highly recommend just

    logging off and junking your computer because it isn't going to get any better.

    ... a true "oldster".
  • by Steve Richards ( 211082 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:45PM (#166967)
    I'm not happy about this, primarily because I think free Internet access is not a good thing. There are tons of reasons for this; let me just go into a few of them here.

    • Signal-to-noise ratio - I'm an Internet "oldster" .. I was surfing the Web as far back as 1996 and can assure some of the newer members here that the Internet used to be a much more productive tool. Think about it; how much does a standard, unlimited dial-up account cost these days? $14.95? $19.95? And just who are Juno and NetZero targeting? They are going after people who cannot pony up fifteen bucks a month for legitimate Internet access. Now ask yourself: What value can these people possibly contribute to the Internet at large?

      I'll tell you what: screw the Internet and just look at the microcosm that is Slashdot. Over the course of the past couple of years, this community has deteriorated from an intelligent online discussion forum to a veritable cornucopia of goat trolls and first posts. Common sense dictates that the majority of this crap is coming from uneducated, lower-class people at the very bottom of the wage scale. Juno and Netzero are dedicated to making sure that these people get Internet access. Well, you can call me elitist, but I call that bullshit.

    • Encouragement of the "gimme gimme gimme" entitlement mentality - Our society is rapidly moving towards a mindset where people believe, for whatever reason, that they are entitled to certain things, and Internet access is one of those things that people seem to think they have a God-given right to. I don't care if it's universal health care, retirement benefits, or Internet access .. the mentality that there are some things that should be just "given away" for free is destructive and may uproot the economies of the Western world.

      Linux is another example. Don't get me wrong; I love Linux (and have three machines running it here at home.) But I use Linux because it is a reliable, powerful operating system .. not because it is free. It bothers me to see people boast about running Linux and "not having to pay one penny for software." If that's the only reason you're running Linux, perhaps you need to reconsider your priorities. Personally, I try to spend at least $100 USD on commercial software each month, just to ensure the vitality of the system. The vitality of the system is threatened by NetZero and Juno.

    • Lower bandwidth for legitimate users - When hundreds of NetZero/Juno customers clog up Web sites such as Slashdot or JenniCam, they are stealing bandwidth from those of us who actually pay for our Internet access. If I could be getting 5K/sec more if it weren't for freeloaders, I consider that stolen bandwidth .. bandwidth that is being hijacked from me and from the hundreds of thousands of other legitimate Internet users that get their access through more wholesome means.
    I could go on, but you get the picture. I believe that it's the duty of real Internet users to oppose "free ISPs." They set a bad precedent, and they run the very real risk of screwing up a Good Thing for the rest of us.
  • Oh, and by the way... 1996 is not an "internet oldster" by ANY stretch of the imagination.

    My Internet experience predates the World Wide Web altogether, when it was all about comic strips (Archie? Veronica? Jughead?) or animals (Gopher?) or even HAM radio nerdiness (KA9Q?)... And even I'm not an "oldster" by any stretch of the imagination. When I went online with my beautiful Motorola 88k-based workstation (boy, was it cool), there were already "oldsters" everywhere around me.

    So really you're missing exactly the same context that you accuse the new folks of missing. The fact is, the 'net is here to be helpful, and the original spirit of things (before banner ads and the dot-com economy) was that it was here to be helpful to everybody.
  • Perhaps you don't understand: I'm agreeing with you and not with the original poster. My intent was not to say that free product does not undermine capitalist economies (perhaps it does, perhaps not, there are a number of systemic subtleties), but my intent is to say that in my opinion the integrity of a capitalist economy is MOOT when compared to the value of helping others.
  • The crucial point, however, is that since money is the sole intermediary for all products in a capital economy, people are much more likely to hoard money and [this was the point of my post] do things like destroy real resources that could be used to feed others in order to protect the exchange value of their money, which in the end can't actually be used to feed anyone...

    In the absence of capital, you won't find the broom maker keeping 1,000 brooms in his back room because it makes him feel "rich" nor are you as likely to find him burning 995 of them out back to protect the exchange value of his brooms and thus, his wealth.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @09:05PM (#166971) Homepage
    Okay, I have to take exception to a couple of things you've just said.

    FIRST... Elitism: of course there are people less educated than you are, and of course they can sometimes be a problem because they just don't know how to behave or how to interface with the world. But instead of trying to hide uneducated or less fortunate people under a rock, how about we educate them instead? And of course, experience is one of the most effective forms of education!

    Let me use a metaphor. You and I are educated folk, and we are standing in the world's largest library. Some less educated people who aren't familiar with the stacks, dewey decimal, or library etiquette come in and discuss loudly amongst themselves how difficult it is to find things in this library. You propose that we chase these people out because we find them distracting. I propose that we tell them how to behave in the library, how to use the stacks, and then let them learn to their hearts' content.

    SECOND... Free goods undermining western economies: I can't believe you just made that argument. It was ugly in the Grapes of Wrath and it's ugly today in technology. I personally believe that everything should be free. If I'm a farmer, I distribute my grain free to everyone in your family and extended family, and in return, you as a tractor-maker give me a tractor for free. After all, my farm produces much more food than I can possibly eat, and you as a tractor maker actually have little use for a tractor once it's built... But that's just an idyllic dream, of course.

    Now, I'm willing to concede that we live in a capital-based economy and thus, not everything can be free. However, your statement that free products undermine the economy implies that no products at all should be free. That is bullshit. If the people are hungry and there is food, feed them. Don't throw the food into the bin to preserve market price structures. With the internet we have the ability to distribute real knowledge to all people to an extent that has never been seen before in human history. We can raise everyone's consciousness and potential quite a lot bit for very little cost.

    To use an example/semi-metaphor again, I personally would find it terribly offensive and horrible if Linux were to suddenly cost $$$ just for the sole purpose of helping out the U.S. economy, thereby depriving thousands of poor computer users around the world in developing or war-ravaged countries of their primary operating system!

    You, sir, are borderline evil.

  • It's already been established that Juno has a pretty fscked up [slashdot.org] buisness model. And as any physicist will tell you, adding more mass will only increase the momentum of the downward spiral. Free net access is dead, and it's not a viable buisness model anymore. How is one big bulky company going to do any better in this market than two smaller ones?
    ---
  • I just signed up for AT&T at full price. I assume connecting at $4.95 should be the same. I've already connected via my Linux machine (running Red Hat 6.2). All I needed to do was use the Gnome Dialup configuration tool to set up the connection.

    AT&T also has a document at http://www.wurd.com/eng/setup/dialers/linux.html [wurd.com] to guide you through dialing in via Linux.

  • They are going after people who cannot pony up fifteen bucks a month for legitimate Internet access. Now ask yourself: What value can these people possibly contribute to the Internet at large?

    That depends on your point of view. Consider my sister, who, because of unwise decisions and choices on her part, is a single mother of two pre-school aged children.

    She is currently working a low-wage job and attending school at night to earn her bachelor's degree.

    Because her time spent at home--with her children--is so precious, she can't afford (in terms of time) to spend those evenings at school when Internet-related research is required. Therefore she could really use Internet access at home. Enter NetZero.

    The "free" alternative offered by NetZero is ideally suited not only to her, but to people in similar situations (those laid off/unemployed/between jobs) that can't afford to "pony up 15 bucks" at the moment. Is this a segment worth marketing to? I don't know. But there is a segment of the population that uses service like this legitimately.

  • Only until they go bankrupt. They they will be SOL.

    Couldn't resist.

  • Just like when Worldspy sold out to Juno and I logged on one day, expecting my nice speedy reliable Worldspy connection, and instead got a message on how Juno would provide a quality service. Well, I tried Juno, and it sucked like a gaping belly wound.

    When businesses merge, as a general rule, service and quality of goods simply go down. It's funny how every damn time they tell you the opposite. This makes just about every company that has a merger a liar.

    -Kasreyn
  • How about Zero Juno? That's what they're going to wind up with!
  • How about junt?
  • Greetings; Being a technician, I run into a ton of different problems, with computers, including internet providers. Lately, I have been working with a older man, and he has Juno. It will dial the number, but it won't connect. We've tried multiple numbers, no luck. We've then tried a different internet provider, and it connected right away at 48K, so in any case, we would email Juno and ask them your problem/question/consern. Juno has a clever way of having a "word" search for technical support, just like any other major corperation. But, it doesn't do any good. They do give you a number to call, but they will charge you for technicial support. They will not help there "free" customers. Now, I remember back in the day when I used to use Juno, I never had a problem with it, and it was pretty popular back then. What happened with there good service? They became too big, and now there servers suck? If they combine with Netzero, which has terrible service as well, make things even worst. 2 ISP's that both suck now, combining? This should be interesting.

    -Tyler Hall
  • NetZero is agressivly pushing a no-ads $10/mo service. Which compeats well with AT&T's $7/mo buggy, with ads service.
  • netzero can't even secure their environment...don't believe me? look here:
    http://209.242.124.241
  • See, I tried the AT&T service for a month while keeping my old (and still not steller) ISP account. Since I'm a current AT&T customer, I thought I'd be getting decent enough service with the low price as a perk. Um, wrong.

    Not only was there an annoying ad bar for this PAID service, but the connection was slow, hard to connect to, and I was randomly disconnected every 5 minutes or so or if I was idle for too long. This to me was exactly the same kind of service I got through NetZero, but at least that was free. Needless to say, I'm still with my local ISP.

    Just maybe this company has a chance, as long as it provides decent enough service, or at least better than your typical overloaded AT&T/AOL line.

  • ... were one of the reasons for the Internet changing from what it was circa 1996.

    A laptop still cost $3,600, a PC still cost $2,000, and a Palm cost something like $550.

    The Internet was finally starting to change from hourly access to a fixed price (probably the best thing the Internet ever did psuedo-collectively), opening the doors to those who didn't really want to shell out a lot of money for something like the Internet. The Internet was also starting to mature, so those who would generally have a lack of interest became interested.

    Then we saw late 1998 and all of 1999 (arguably 'the year of the cable Internet/DSL'), which gave many people a high-speed, affordable, always-on alternative to the T1 or ISDN.

    Slashdot has matured as well (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your stance), and its maturity includes the trolls...

    You usually have at least a little bad where there's otherwise a lot of good -- the Internet included.

  • > I'm an Internet "oldster" .. I was surfing the Web as far back as 1996

    tee hee. heh heh.

    Thanks, sonnie. you gave me a good giggle there.

    now pass grampa his teeth, so he can bite your nose off....

  • Insightfull? The horrible assumptions made here were almost beyond counting: 1)"Over the course of the past couple of years, this community has deteriorated from an intelligent online discussion forum to a veritable cornucopia of goat trolls and first posts. Common sense dictates that the majority of this crap is coming from uneducated, lower-class people at the very bottom of the wage scale." Why do you have to be a low wage earner to be a troll? By this logic, you're a low wage earner... 2)"It bothers me to see people boast about running Linux and 'not having to pay one penny for software.'" What's wrong with trying to save a little money? Maybe they're trying to become one of these upper-class intelligent rich people you seem to envision as the upholders of all that is good... 3)"If I could be getting 5K/sec more if it weren't for freeloaders, I consider that stolen bandwidth .. bandwidth that is being hijacked from me and from the hundreds of thousands of other legitimate Internet users that get their access through more wholesome means." How can you consider this hijacking of your bandwidth? I'm fairly sure that these sites you visit were'nt designed for the sole puprose of serving ignorant people like yourself, so they were meant for other people to access them, no matter how much they pay for their ISP... I could go on and on, but I'll just quickly summarize what's been said above: nothing.
  • They could do good things for the internet community. I'l like them to form a partnership with Odigo [odigo.com], and try to knock AIM and ICQ down a few notches. I really thinnk they'd be wasting opportunity if they didn't catch onto instant messaging soon after the merge.

    Just my .02. I use Odigo, and although it's compatible with the AOL networks, I'd like to have connections to more using Odigo's native network.
  • Maybe America(tm) was a little inaccurate, but so few Americans seem to know that America is a continent that it might not matter. Canada has always been more liberal than the U.S. and that translates into a corporate climeate that is not as commercial.
  • Does anyone remember the good old days in which you could call up the sysadmin at your isp, xyz.net, and actually talk to him. Luckily I still have one of those great isp's, but it's also just a matter of time before they're bought out as well. I'm getting an ISDN line installed later this month (I live directly in the middle of nowhere) and have been shopping around for good rates on the isp end of things. Of 10 ISPs I've contacted (including the large ones) the only one that knew what a shell account was is the one I'm currently using. One insisted that I didn't know what I was talking about and wanted to know why I wanted this "shell thing" anyway. About half of those called couldn't tell me how much a normal 128k ISDN account would cost without putting me on hold to ask someone else first. Of course all this is still not quite as bad as me contacting my local sprint office to inquire about the ISDN line at which point the rep asked me what it was.
  • by teambpsi ( 307527 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:47PM (#166989) Homepage
    Wow, as an ISP owner I couldn't be happier to hear this.

    You only merge for one reason: Economies of scale.

    Both players are leveraging the dialup pops of backbone providers like Cable and Wireless, MegaPOP, and whats left of Ziplink. Combined they can possibly pay less for their access -- you didn't actually think they deployed their own network gear did you?

    So merger time means they are both sucking-wind fast and maybe together they honestly think they can "best-fit" their way to profitability.

    We had a customer switch over recently from one of them, and when we gave them the number for their area, they said, "Wow, thats the number I used to dial for Juno -- why are you going to be any better?" -- our tech replied, "well, you'll talking to a live person aren't you?" -- oh yeah, and we don't use your computer to search for aliens without your permission, nor do we zap you with advertising or sell you out to other companies.

    There are three basic rules (okay, maybe four)

    1. You get what you pay for.

    2. What comes around goes around.

    3. There's no such thing as a free lunch

    4. A movie at matinee prices is the *SAME* movie you'll see at regular evening rates.

    The advertiser "eyeball" model is dead, and banner advertising (and filtering for that matter) is about to kill whats left of that "revenue stream".

    Besides....do you REALLY want to advertise your products and services to people that don't even pay for their internet service?

    I agree with an earlier post.....ONE bankruptcy, not two will make things so much easier....

  • Would netzero and Juno have the worlds 2nd largest ISP based on Subscribers or active Subscribers? I know many people who have sign-up more then once for both Juno and NetZero. Does a Free Internet account Expire in like a month or 2. Does it does expire after more then a year? I don't think NetZero has the largest 3rd largest Active Subscriber Base. If Netzero and Juno merge and start saying we are the 2nd biggest internet proveder(or #1 Provider of the real internet). Then earthlink should sue them for Lying, right?

    Maybe AT&T or who ever is fourth, should sue NetZero as it is?

    --This Massage was posted by a mentally ill man and as such can not be modded down
  • ...but something that uses it's rendering engine maybe. As long as it's standards complaint.
  • uh, yeah, i guess i agree, i used to work for everything i have, but, then when free isp's came along, i figured if i could get that for nothing, then why bother paying for anything? cool. now me and my other troglodyte freeloaders are encouraged to steal bandwidth from all you old, foolish people that pay for things. heehee. oh, and by the way, i'm 52 years old
  • As far as I'm concerned, Juno isn't really a free ISP right now. They're a free e-mail provider. I tried using their "free" ISP service, and surfed for probably two hours each on the first two days. After that, I didn't used them for the rest of the week. The next time I went to grab something off the 'net, I found that they'd classified me as a "heavy" user, and that I either needed to upgrade to their "premium" service or only surf after something like 4:00am. And the only reason I even signed up was because I was away from home and couldn't call my ISP locally. I needed something for some light web usage.

    NetZero, on the other hand, has been much better. You can guess who's tactics I hope they use with the merger.

    GreyPoopon
    --

  • Signal-to-noise ratio -

    [snip]

    And just who are Juno and NetZero targeting? They are going after people who cannot pony up fifteen bucks a month for legitimate Internet access. Now ask yourself: What value can these people possibly contribute to the Internet at large?

    [snip]

    Common sense dictates that the majority of this crap is coming from uneducated, lower-class people at the very bottom of the wage scale. Juno and Netzero are dedicated to making sure that these people get Internet access. Well, you can call me elitist, but I call that bullshit.

    [Emphasis added.]

    One of the problems all along with the Net as a civic tool and instrument of democracy (and we all believe in that, right?) is the fact that for most of its life it's been a playground for wealthy, educated, urban, mostly young, white guys. In the past couple years with the decreasing cost of computers and net access -- and, yes, with the increasing commercialization of the net -- this has been changing. But we still have a long way to go.

    What is this perceived danger of bringing into the net more (gasp) working-class people? (or women? nonwhites? people from outside the US? even the developing world?) The danger is that our sacred civic institutions like /. get infiltrated with people of different backgrounds. They might even have opinions that are offensive to our sensibilities. Fortunately, frequently the lower-class outsiders might lack the postgraduate-level writing skills the we the eleet have (duh!) so we can easily dismiss them as lowlifes.

    The poster clearly equates thus:

    Upper class = signal
    Lower class = noise

    Most of the folks who object to the original elitist troll have said, in essence, "Let the poor benighted heathens come to the Net so we can educate them. Well, maybe they can learn from us (speaking as a degree-holding white boy), but we might wanna open our ears too, maybe we can learn something about the world beyond our CRTs and office parks.

    The walls of the country club are coming down brick by brick. Hallelujah.

  • Two smaller failing companies to merge into one large failing company.
  • I could be wrong (has been known to happen from time to time ;) but it looks like all sides are forming alliances and facing off for some sort of huge computer/internet armegeddon.... ok maybe thats an exaggeration..

    But with the AOL/Time-Warner deal... and Microsofts already quite extensive network of software and media companies.. this Netzero/Juno thing seems to cap it off with three major computer/net/media/etc 'groups'.

    Now I realize all have unique customers all their own, obviously Juno/Netzero (uol is it?) can't really compete with Microsoft on a software basis. But I think we will see these 3 conglomerates battling it out for 'most influential' net company out there...

    Or maybe I've been staying up too late reading Orwell..shrugs...

    ------ cat ~/lamesig >> ~/lamecomment ------
  • Come on! Anyone who pays for dialup internet service is a fool.

    Anyone who demands that someone pay for it is doomed to surf at 33kbps forever.

    The only way to get the fiber/copper at your house is to let the dialups die out. Then they have to lay pipe.

    Smart shoppers dial for free. I only pay for premium bandwidth.

    Besides. Who do you know who pays for an isp dialup who isn't bombarded with ads anyway?

    My SIG

  • Just so you know... arbitrarily spending 100 usd on software isn't helping anyone.

    That's the sort of idiotic philosophy that got the venture capitalists bankrupt at the turn of the century.

    Buying goods for the sake of buying undermines the real value of a product.

    It will return to bite you in the bum. Because fools like you pay for useless articles, those useless articles will seem (temporarily) valuble and their price goes up

    This month you pay 100 usd. Next month you pay 115 usd. All because you placed an arbitrary value on a useless product.

    (how come you think MS Windows got so popular)?

    Next time you go out to spend money just to spend money, do us all a favor and continue downloading porn on your 56k modem.

    MY SIG

  • Which TOS agreement will be used in the "UOL" ISP? Juno wanted the user's computer ready at a moment's notice for their personal enjoyment by running their programs on the end user's machine. NetZero, as far as I know, does not have such a stringent policy. Simply the merger will cost them millions of dollars, which with the drop in the global economy, will be hard to obtain using an advertising based payment method. I don't see a bright future for this company.
  • Will we call them UOL?

    FP
  • how about some sort of amalgamation of Juno and Netzero...hmm...how about JunoNothing? that sounds about right ;-)
  • "Will we call them UOL?"

    If we do, look out! I'm sure AOL will sue for using the letters O and L, just like they did with A, I, and M.

  • "oldster?" Bah Ha Ha Ha!

    First off, just because someone can't (or chooses not to) "pony up fifteen bucks a month" for Internet access doesn't mean that these people don't have anything of value to contribute or should be excluded from it. Granted, most people using these services are probably new to the Internet and probably don't know much. But given time, they're sure to contribute a wealth of information. We all have to start somewhere. I'm sure when you started out, the Internet was unfamiliar to you as well and you knew as little as these people. But that doesn't justify anyone from excluding you from accessing it. Everyone should be able to access and learn from this technology as we all will benefit from it.

    "...this community has deteriorated from an intelligent online discussion forum to a veritable cornucopia of goat trolls and first posts. Common sense dictates that the majority of this crap is coming from uneducated, lower-class people at the very bottom of the wage scale."

    So does this mean that you are also an uneducated, lower-class person from the very bottom of the wage scale?

    Personally, I think the Internet should be FREE! It shouldn't be owned by any one. It should be free like the air waves; It should belong to the people (though I know this isn't so).

  • Exactly, that's what I meant. The Internet should be free just like the air waves should be free (since it belongs to the people). But apparrantly, that just isn't so. That's why I also put "(though I know this isn't so)." I guess it didn't come out as clear as it should have. Sorry!
  • Free ISPs burn money like it was kindling, as we all know. Passive advertising doesn't make up the loss, and requiring your users to "donate" CPU cycles is problematic at best, and can stretch an already faltering infrastructure. As seti@home demonstrates, it's also insecure.

    I can think of a couple ways that United Online might become profitable, however. Browser hijacking is one possibility - periodically force the user, kicking and screaming, to visit a sponsor's web site. Another idea I just had is, ironically enough, a way to use United Online for secure communication.

    Basically, a company using the secure communication service sends their email to United Online. The message is broken into tiny ( less than a kilobyte) segments, and each segment is encryted further. The segments are then distributed randomly to UO users, along with the (encrypted) email address of the recipient. When the user recieves the encrypted segment, it is encoded into his or her next email message using stengography, and CC'd to the intended recipient (the one using the encrypted message). Random emails not containing the enrypted data are also sent to the recipient as "decoys". The result is that the recipient recieves a LOT of email, but can sort through it to find the encrypted data. Of course, there are practical problems, and this is a horrible breach of privacy,but it might be a viable business model. I know this is vague, please don't flame me.

  • by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:23PM (#167006)

    I just don't get this sentence:

    The biggest task facing the newest company was to prove that it can turn the 85 percent of its subscribers who are getting free service into paying customers, Brooks said--and then proving that it can make a profit at whatever discounted price it charges for the service.
    If you--a free ISP--turn your subscribers into paying customers, are you still a free ISP? This seems like a new koan for me to ponder, kinda like the notion of "Compassionate Conservatism". Or maybe this is an example of this "new math" that they started teaching after I finished elementary school.
  • by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Thursday June 07, 2001 @07:15PM (#167007)

    Yes, so six months from now they can have one bankruptcy case instead of two. Think of how much the taxpayers will save.

  • sure, its the old bait [bigboysbaits.com] and hook [hookhack.com]. The advertising model obviously does not work, so why offer a free service unless you can use it to push a premium one.
  • I hope not. A free dialup is extremly usefull when traveling or when the old dsl punts.

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