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The Internet

Canada Post Kills Free Internet-For-Life Program 124

An Anonymous Coward writes: "About a year ago Canada Post was selling CD's for $10 in post offices promising free internet for life. The software was netzero style, with banner ads. Apperently all Canadians have died, they cancelled the free service and switched to a pay-per-month plan. Here's a Winnipeg Free Press article all about it."
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Canada Post Kills Free Internet-For-Life Program

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  • by ritlane ( 147638 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @02:47PM (#96519) Homepage
    I always wondered about those "Internet for life" companies:

    Did they mean the life of the subscriber or company?



    ---Lane



    ---Lane [westlund.net]
  • 1) Canada Post has your name and address

    2) They don't want to get sued so the probably want to keep up their part of that lifetime-deal

    -> Better start looking over your shoulder. A lot! :-)

  • I give the Trolls on Slashdot a life-expectancy of 5 *seconds* to begin posting Canada people death jokes. :)

  • Advertisiment is different from TOS.

    It's the same as waking up with an ugly lady next to you opposed as Cindy Crawford after drinking beer.
  • Ok, really... who would sign up for internet service from the POST OFFICE!.... "ya - your e-mail should/maybe/possibly arrive in 3-5 business days, but maybe longer... " no thanks!
  • I have to agree, selling something as 'free internet for life' and then welching on it is false advertising, and as much as I know it'll come out of my pocket.. the parties involved should share the blame and be punished, to set an example.

  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @02:54PM (#96525) Homepage
    The whole "Free FOO for Life" advertising scheme has been blown many times in the history of the internet. Dot coms are perfectly willing to offer free services for life as long as their banner ads are keeping all the CEOs in shiny new cars, but when that stopped happening, the "Free FOO for Life" thing fell apart.

    False advertising? Yes.

    Will it be judged as such in court? Nah. Lifetime services are expected by insurance companies, but that's about it. No court in the nation is going to force a company to give free internet for life. It's absurd. This isn't news.

  • Well, apart from the fact that this should come as no surprise (someone else who though they could get something for nothing)... what the hell was Canada Post doing distributing these CDs?

    Canada Post sure knows how to waste my money when it comes to the internet. They spent who knows how many millions developing and promoting a service allowing me to pay my bills online. Too bad every major Canadian bank already provides this service!

    Here's an idea for Canada Post - stick to delivering the mail and stop wasting my money.

  • Before us Canucks get a piece of that Broadband-for-All goodness that we've been hearing about lately :)
  • by Traicovn ( 226034 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @02:58PM (#96528) Homepage
    We've seen this before. Ad based internet hosting just doesn't work. Reccently several news agencies on the web have even posted that banner ads are not as high impact as people think they are. (well of course not, especially when pages have 4 or 5! at least they aren't pop-up ads!)

    It's a nice idea, but unfortunately it doesn't work. If people really want 'free' internet for life, I reccomend that they look around for community freenets like Seattle Community Network, Arbornet, Tallahassee Freenet, Alachua County Freenet just to name a few. Go and support these by donating 20.00 a year or something like that and get free dial-up internet access. It's a great way for people to get on the internet, and compared to most local isp's or national isp's, it's only one or two months cost.

    Don't turn your back on the community networks that are still in place that gave us PPP access to the internet, and before that Terminal based access!

    But ad based free internet just isn't a viable option, KMART, FREEI.net, and so many others have failed. Juno and NetZero are now one company, and if there not careful, it won't be long until they are gone. Juno was really cool when people just wanted email, but now people want internet access to from them. Those dialup lines and backbones cost money, per call, per month, and per meg. And in the end, the CPM and click throughs on those banner ads just don't pay, and people find work arounds so they don't have to deal with them.

    [Something witty and intelligent should have appeared here.]
  • Canadians are a calmer folk.. I'd bet you'd get more reactions like "Three to five, eh? Whats the delay all aboot?" than US style "I'm going to RIP THEIR LIVER OUT WITH A CHAINSAW!!!" rage.
  • You get what you pay for...TANSTAAFL!

  • Well, obviously the one thing that makes this a tad different is that it's the post office. I don't know what the Canadian post office is like, but in the US, it's an unfunded government agency. That would make the fraud implications a little more serious than just a dot-com going bankrupt.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • Why did most Canadians not use it? Well, (And this is a blatant opinion) in Canada, the internet is quite rampantly dirt cheap. You can walk down and pick up a Sympatico tm package and get a couple hours a month for about 15 bucks or so. Now that is substantially more than free, but the second thing is that the Government has regulated (or so I'm told) the high-speed internet sector and it costs less than 50 bucks a month for high speed. And when certain companies coughcoughSHAWcoughcough conveniently forget to charge for a couple months as they did to me, it's not that expensive. Plus, there's no ads.

    And if you really want free dial-up (read, if you even want dial-up and have a choice) you can find free ISP's all over. The idea of a free ISP with ads just doesn't fly because for the most part there are much more reasonable ideas out there that aren't offered by Canada post

    And why Canada Post? Let's just see. It takes a week to get a 1kg package from New Zealand Regina Saskatchewan. It also takes a week to get a letter from a place 5 hours away from Regina to Regina. This make sense? Not to me, but hey, they bring me my mail, so I can't complain since all it is is bills and junk mail from (blatant opinion) my idiot MP.
  • Maple leaf to mother tree -- maple leaf to mother tree -- the Slashdotter's know too much. Recommend redeployment of Celine Dion.
  • As someone who's about to re-launch their site with a portion of it to be subscription based, I have to chuckle. Not for the poor Canadians that got hosed here, but for one of my readers that was pointing out how these things work and how us moving to a subscription base was not needed. Eventually, everyone pays somehow.... now if they could all be paying me!
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:03PM (#96535)
    Not so fast now, was it "free" internet as in "free beer" or as in "free speech" ? maybe the new pay-per-month deal comes with the source code for the banner ad software on the CD ...
  • The other thing that I felt I should mention (but forgot) is that Broadband prices, as they come down, are slowly killing all ISP's. People don't want to deal with the busy signals they get from free isps, and they don't want to have people not be able to get through to them when they are online. As broadband prices drop, we will slowly see the demise of local isps and even National ISP's. (Note: this is already slowly happening, however some local ISP's have managed to make it being local DSL resellers, etc.)

    [Something witty and intelligent should have appeared here.]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    3Web/Cybersurf has been offering free dial-up in Alberta at least for a number of years. The service has been ok from all reports (I'm not a subscriber) and I haven't seen anything saying that there will be a mandatory charge coming. From their webpage it appeared that for $10 a month you could get slightly higher priority and no adds, or you could just stick with the lesser priority and not be charged at all for it. I think that they have done a good job up to this point and hopefully the mandatory payment is not true, although they still will be a cheap place to get dial-up for everyone in the boonies. 8)
  • 3web was displaying very different ads. They were animated and with sound. OK, that's not a great discovery, but those animated ads were at the top of your screen permanently.

    Many of these ads were in fact television ads... Please don't tell me advertising can't work on the internet: these ads were the same than on tv and they were there all the time, not 2 minutes every 10-15 minutes. These ads were also targeted. These ads were even using the user's name in them.

    Ok. This was really really annoying: my sound was turned off. But if this type of ads can't work, nothing would work on the internet.

  • really? They make no money? What a fucking surprise? How many times have you clicked on one of those (other than to "stop animations")?

    Once for me.
  • Juno will be just fine. If you use too many hours, they will start charging you, through the nose, by the way. I was using the $9.99/month service(supposedly unlimited), and when I exceeded their allotted hours, they wanted me to start paying $30 a month. LOL..I can get real unlimited access for less than that.

  • ...this would be a great reason to sue the company to fucking smithereens, but unfortunately it has probably already folded so one couldn't collect anything.

    Oh well... one can always visit the homes of its boardmembers with a cigar-cutter, mafia-style, and make yourself a nice necklace of fingers... just a thought, don't blame me if someone really DOES it... =P

    -Kasreyn
  • Er...

    Beer ads uses female sensuality to sell beers. They put beautiful ladies to sell it, associating the product name/brand with the idea of having easy chances to have one, just go and drink it. The bar will be happier when you drink beer X, everybody will start talking to you, and women, well, they will not resist. At least here in Brazil, most beer ads uses gorgeous women to sell the product.

    So that what is advertiment. Give you a reason to buy something. Might be something tangible or or not.

    So here comes the explanation :-)

    Probaly the TOS (Terms of Service) has clause/paragraph protecting the company. So, don't believe in advertisiment (I am a college student of publicity, btw...). Don't drink beer thinking that you will get Crawford.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:13PM (#96543)
    If the canadian program said "Free internet for life", then they are obligated to fufill that contract for as long as both parties to that contract exist. If the company folds and dies, then that ends the contract, but they cannot just change the terms like that.

    e.g., Quantum Link, an on-line service for commodore computer users, offered a "lifetime membership" for $150.00 which promised $0/month with 5 hours usage. You still pay if you go over 5 hours, but stay under and it's free for life. When Quantum Computer Services became AOL, the new company still had to honor old contracts. You cannot bail out of contracts just by changing names. So I still have my 5 free hours with no monthly fee but on AOL now. When AOL went to flat-rate pricing, they switched everyone over. Everyone wants $19.95 flat rate, right? Not me. Luckily I saved the letters from Q-Link/AOL offering me that lifetime free membership. So you AOLers, now you know why AOL still talks about free and per-minute charges. It's to acomodate us fossils.

  • once you get on the internet, you don't have a life anymore?

    Not that I had much of a life to begin with, anyway.

    ----

  • Wow! (I use Juno when I'm travelling in the US), otherwise I have broadband, and if all I need to do is check some mail really quick from where I am and get some email it works out just great. That's horrible though with the $30.00 a month. My parents cable modem costs that much. I don't think ANY dialup ('cept maybe a 1-800 for people who travel alot and in places where it's hard to get net access, and maybe not even then) is worth that much. :)


    [Something witty and intelligent should have appeared here.]
  • In fact, this service was free if you downloaded the client yourself. If you didn't already had internet access, you had to buy the 10$ CD or ask a friend to download it for you. It was reasonable because it was available in every post office (every village) and every HMV store, I doubt they made money selling the CD.
  • by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:18PM (#96547) Homepage
    The only thing that's news about this is that someone thought this would last a "lifetime". With companies like NetZero and Juno scrambling to keep afloat, and others like Spinway sinking into the depths of f***edcompany.com, it's a wonder anybody has free internet access anymore. Plus, the old addage is true when it comes to free internet services; "you get what you pay for".
  • by mistered ( 28404 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:19PM (#96548)

    It's kind of funny, I was in a post office last week to mail off a letter, and I saw the CDs sitting on the counter. Canada Post selling internet access, I thought to my self, how silly is that?

    I looked a little closer at the CD and noticed that it was just a 3web [3web.com] CD. Since 3web went under a while ago, I thought it was strange that Canada Post was still selling the CDs. Oh well, I guess it just took some time for the memo to get around.

  • Only $10 but that's well above free of charge or distrubution costs.
  • by crashdavis ( 69986 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:31PM (#96550)
    I don't understand how the government allows advertising to be fundamentally different from the terms of service of the product being advertised. We are constantly being inundated with this shit too--it's the rule not the exception.

    - How many FREE products are out there where the ad says FREE 50 times in 60 seconds, but in fine print it says there is a $8.00 S&H charge? I call on the FCC to define the meaning of the word "FREE" as "no money changes hands for you to get this product or service".

    - If the courts know that it isn't for LIFE but instead until the company goes under, why do advertising regulators allow the phrase FOR LIFE in ANY ads??? I call on the regulators to require that ads FOR LIFE have money in trust in case they go under if they use that phrase.

    - Why are ads for diet pills and get rich quick schemes allowed to show testimonial after testimonial of people talking about how product X helped them become smarter, thinner or richer while the tiny print says "Results Not Typical"? Let's require TYPICAL testimonials, how about that! Or require the really skinny people to say in their testimonial "I was AMAZED at how much weight I lost since my results were so atypical!"

    I really don't get it. My wife is from Europe, where truthfulness in ads seems to be something the governments still care about, and it has taken her YEARS to build up enough skepticism of ads to not believe all the patently fraudulent bullshit that is perpetrated here.

    I understand caveat emptor and all that, but it has really gotten out of hand. When was the last time you saw an ad that was TRUTHFUL! Coke won't make you happy. Miller Lite won't get you girls. A Lexus doesn't make you a successful business man. You can't "Set it and Forget It" with that cheesy chicken roaster. Drinking parseley juice from your $200 juicers isn't going to make you feel younger. Diet-ZX isn't free. OxyClean won't clean your carpets. I doubt Massengil really gives you that "fresh" feeling either.

    What are the rules that have to be followed? Are there ANY? Does anyone CHECK the ads? IS ANYONE OUT THERE???

    Crash
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why should other AOL members have to subsidize you?

    Um, the money from the lifetime memberships to Q-Link members was used as startup capital to create AOL. AOL owes these people and so repays them with lifetime memberships.

    Leech.

    No. It is you who owes hommage to us.

  • As you should have known, it's Canada. So suing everyone, while a nifty American idea, is unlikely to go over well, especially if the Crown decides it doesn't want to be sued.

    Yes, that is what I said. Many times I see Yanks make the mistake that the whole world works like the USA. It doesn't. Get over it, already.

    What might happen is someone might establish a commission to investigate it, which, years later, will end up having done nothing at all.

    So, once again - Canada Post == Crown == no lawsuit unless some silly twit forgot to do his job and toss it into the circular file.

    I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok, I work all night, and I get DSL ...

  • Yeah, except that they paid $9.99 for the service with the expectation that they would have free Internet access for life. Unless their TOS explicitly states that they may change their pricing model at any time they wish, this is a breach of contract, and they're gonna have a bunch of pissed off people demanding a refund on the original purchase (I would). I bet there are plenty of work starved lawyers upthere that will take up class-action suits on a contingency basis.
  • by WillSeattle ( 239206 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:39PM (#96554) Homepage
    was the spam. They promised to give you free DSL for life - well, you still have DSL, it's just not functional, there's that nice NIC in your PC now, just use it for an extra LAN connection for your internal house network.

    Coming soon, free pr0n for life. OK, so it's pictures from a retirement home, but what were you expecting?

  • You don't always get what you pay for. I got better service with free ISPs such as BlueLight.com and Excite than I ever got with AOHell. Just use DUN instead of their client and -- voila! -- no more ads! Plus the connection speeds were often better with the free services, probably partially thanks to people like you who assumed that "free" meant "crappy".

    -----
  • Dude, did you read the article? This was the *Canadian Postal Service* - they certainly haven't folded, ya doofus. :P
  • Well, obviously the one thing that makes this a tad different is that it's the post office. I don't know what the Canadian post office is like, but in the US, it's an unfunded government agency. That would make the fraud implications a little more serious than just a dot-com going bankrupt.

    How, exactly?

    (It's not that I don't understand, I just think that it's a weak argument and needs better justification.)

  • Is your MP Liberal? :)
  • And why Canada Post? Let's just see. It takes a week to get a 1kg package from New Zealand [to] Regina Saskatchewan. It also takes a week to get a letter from a place 5 hours away from Regina to Regina. This make sense? Reminds me of a joke I heard some years back about Canada Post:
    "Canada Post doesn't really charge 32 cents for a stamp. It's 2 cents for postage and 30 cents for storage."

    -- Gerald Regan, Cabinet Minister, 12/31/83 Financial Post
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @03:50PM (#96560) Journal

    this would be a great reason to sue the company to fucking smithereens, but unfortunately it has probably already folded so one couldn't collect anything.

    What? Sue Canada Post [canadapost.ca] to smithereens? Canada's national mail service, owned by the Government of Canada [www.gc.ca]? Actually, counting the national debt, the finances [ccra-adrc.gc.ca] of the company are in the red by about $500 billion, which is not unlike most dot-coms.

    Oh well... one can always visit the homes of its boardmembers with a cigar-cutter, mafia-style, and make yourself a nice necklace of fingers

    Let me give you the address of the Chairman [pm.gc.ca]: 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. You can't miss it; it's the one with big tall gates, security cameras, and badass RCMP [rcmp-grc.gc.ca] everywhere.

    Actually us Canadians prefer to express our displeasure non-lethally, with pies in the face [about.com] and such. But don't get too close, he's been known to personally handle protesters by the neck [radio.cbc.ca]. Probably something he learned from watching Hockey Night in Canada [cbc.ca].

  • ... in Canada, the internet is quite rampantly dirt cheap ... ... get a couple hours a month for about 15 bucks or so ... and it costs less than 50 bucks a month for high speed ...

    Um, I don't know what the exchange rate and whatnot is, but that isn't cheap at all. In california, I pay $37.95 for a DSL line, and before that is $15 for a ppp conection. And paying for X number of hours? I didn't think that kind of madness still happened!

    ___
  • Isn't that like saying I get free castor oil every meal for the rest of my life?
  • It appears [cybersurf.net] that you are correct. There is no reference on either the 3web or cybersurf that the free service is being discontinued. In fact, it is still being advertised.

  • Dude, you dont know what the hell you are talking about. Free ISPs have the worst latency imagineable and the modem-to-user pool is always extremly low. And NO, you cannot just use DUN because its pretty hard to stay online when you dont have the software running the properly authenticate you with the banner servers. They just are not that stupid.

    troll.
  • Um, I don't know what the exchange rate and whatnot is, but that isn't cheap at all. In california, I pay $37.95 for a DSL line, and before that is $15 for a ppp conection. And paying for X number of hours? I didn't think that kind of madness still happened!

    You get that kind of madness for the cheap internet access. Remember he's quoting Canadian dollars. At home I'm paying $35 a month for unlimited broadband access to the 'net on @Home.

    @Home is technically breaking the law in Canada, because I'm on the American backbone. In Canada it is illegal for an ISP to connect to the American backbone directly. They must build their network here. I really want to be on Canarie like the Sympatico subscribers are, but it's $10 more per month with a static IP.
  • Outlook 2001 for Macintosh is finally out, and is completely file-format compatible with Outlook 2001 for Windows!

    How do they get the script viruses to run on Macs?
    /.

  • by KingJawa ( 65904 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @04:01PM (#96567) Homepage
    Times have changed,
    ISPs are getting worse,
    They won't obey their contract,
    They just want to fart and curse!

    Should we blame the government?
    Or blame society?
    Or should we blame the images on TV?

    No!
    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
    With all their beady little eyes,
    And flappin' heads so full of lies,
    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
    We need to form a full assault!
    It's Canada's fault!

    Don't blame me for AOL,
    They saw the contract loophole,
    And now their off to bloody Hell!
    And of course Bill Gates,
    One had Solaris on his shelf,
    But now, when I see him,
    He tells me to fsck myself!

    Well,
    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
    It seems everything's gone wrong
    Since Canada came along.
    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
    They're not even a real country, anyway.

    My ISP could have lasted me until 2094,
    Instead it's on the heap like the Adam and Commodore.

    Should we blame Jon Katz?
    Should we blame Wired?
    Or the marketers who allowed it be retired?

    Heck, no!
    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
    With all their hockey hullabaloo,
    And that bitch Anne Murray, too,
    Blame Canada!
  • Last year during the NBA playoffs (Netzero at the Half) they had this commercial with a guy going before congress saying that the internet should be FREE. Everyone cheered.

    Now this year everything is "charge per month" and they call it Netzero Platinum, no banner ads, $9.95 a month.

    How can a company go back on their word and do deceptive things like this? Lamers...

    DIE NETZERO!


    ---------
    Did you just fart? Or do you always smell like that?
  • by Glytch ( 4881 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @04:08PM (#96569)
    So your money helped create AOL? Tell me again why people should thank you?
  • Isn't this kind of service typical of most Canadian social-welfare programs? :)

    - A.P.

    --

  • Thats the problem with all government companies in Canada. If the CBC was to actually show cultural programming, then I would have a lot less problem giving them more of my taxes, but instead they create drama series, sitcoms and other losy types of shows that CTV and global are already producing.

    Stop trying to make money and put the money you get to good use.

    There is no point in the government paying to compete with the private sector, that is exactly what is happening here.
  • I don't quite get it. Advertising supports TV just fine. Furthermore, all TV gives you is a rough guesstimate of how many viewers watched an ad. They have no idea who is channel surfing, snacking or going to the bathroom. How is it that TV advertising is so expensive and profitable to the stations that sell it?

    On the internet, you can target your audience to a much greater degree than with TV. Additionally you can, to some degree, directly track response to your ads. On top of that, it could easily be proved that the internet audience is wealthier and better educated as a whole than TV audiences, and therefore has more money to spend on an advertisers product.

    I am guessing that the 'direct response' aspect of internet ads is also its downfall. If advertisers are primarily looking for click-throughs, then that is the problem. Based on an entirely subjective and anecdotal survey of how internet ads are used, very few(none) of my friends and family click on the ads. However, most of us have learned of companies or products through these ads and later patronized these companies.

    The reason we don't click on the ads is because as a whole, we are not impulsive buyers. Since we have the whole internet at our disposal, we will usually do some research on your company and product and compare those to other companies and products. Its not that we didn't read your ad - we just did some more research before buying.

    If ads were sold by the number of eyeballs, rather than the number of click-throughs, then theres no reason that advertising shouldn't work.(Right?) However, if its the other way around, then I can easily see how advertising on the net might be tanking.

  • by srichman ( 231122 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @04:24PM (#96573)

    - ATTENTION READERS -

    The deal of a lifetime!!! Pay a mere $9.95 upfront to Money Makers International, and we will pay you $5 cash at the beginning of every month for the rest of your life!

    But wait, there's more! On the first day of the 36th month, we will give you a brand new Ferrari!

    What are you waiting for!? Sign up now!


    (Offer subject to change at any time, but most likely right after we get your ten bucks.)

  • LOL! If I had moderator access I'd give it to ya! Best post I've seen all day :)
  • It's even worse. There would be no e-mail delivery on Saturdays (mail doesn't get delivered in Canada on Saturdays) and you wouldn't be able to e-mail from your home (Canada Post doesn't pick up letters from people's mailboxes; you have to go to a public mailbox or the post office to mail things).

    I'm an American living in Canada, and while Canada is in general a pretty nice place to life, Canada Post is pretty scary. Think of all the jokes we Americans have about the US Postal Service. Compared to Canada Post it gives good service.
  • Well, (And this is a blatant opinion) in Canada, the internet is quite rampantly dirt cheap.

    I get 30 hours a month dialup for my laptop from Sympatico here in Winnipeg for $9.95 About $5 US :-/

    And my cable modem for my home network costs me $39 a month. DSL is even cheaper.

    Can't complain about the network infrastructure here, Canada Post notwithstanding...

  • As a fellow Canadian... I LOVE YOU, MAN! Great post, rock on!
  • It's a supply and demand problem.

    The two reasons I see why 'net advertising isn't bringing in the money that TV advertising does is a) market size/penetration: there are more TV's out there than computers and b) outlets: US TV has 4 main channels (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC). Thus there aren't as many channels to reach the audience as there are on the web. The advertisers are forced to compete in a much smaller marketplace and ad prices shoot up as a result. TV networks then have the money they need to make those really stupid shows you people watch.

    Mister Black
  • Exchange rate current as of today.

    $50 Canadian = $32.89 US

    BTW I pay $40/month for cable modem access, that's $26.31 US.

  • CBC's monday night comedy set is by far better than the crap being put together by the private stations. I'm not down with their dramas and what not, but I'm happy to serve up my tax dollars for the comedy alone.
  • Check out the 3Web Google cache [google.com]. They guarantee "Never pay for Internet access again". Yeah, right. What a guarantee.
  • I bet there are plenty of work starved lawyers upthere that will take up class-action suits on a contingency basis.
    No, all our bloodsucking lawyers move to the Excited States of America where you can sue a multinational for a billion dollars because you don't like the haircut the CEO got.

    Twoflower, a Canadian


    --
  • ...They spent who knows how many millions developing and promoting a service allowing me to pay my bills online. Too bad every major Canadian bank already provides this service!

    Thats not what the service is. Epost.ca [epost.ca] allows you to receive your bills and stuff online, not just pay (saves the trees). And I believe it was developed with a business partner. Canada Post Corporation also now has a mandate to be self sufficient.

  • by cebe ( 34322 )
    us canucks have WAY better Broadband-for-All goodness than the americans. have you hugged your national broadband taskforce [broadband.gc.ca] today? :)

    The reason this didn't work is because the amount of people with dialup modems is inversely related to the amount of mini dishes being nailed on houses, you just can't see it well.

    the only people who have no better option than a dialup anymore live in buttcrack sask... but have no fear... buttcrack will soon have a big phat pipe too [ic.gc.ca]

    if people can afford a couple grand on their PC they'll pay to have decent net access. the reason this didnt work is becase free dialup is for poor people, and poor people don't own computers.
  • How do they get the script viruses to run on Macs?

    I dunno but I wouldn't be surprised. Many office document macros are cross-platform.

    Shucks, now I gotta quit bragging to people about how they needn't bother me with the latest virus warnings, since my machine's not affected.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @05:29PM (#96586)
    Canada Post (and most other "snail mail" folks, especially the USPS) are trying to figure out what to do with this new-fangled internet thing. They're floundering around trying to figure out what to do with it, and more often then not they end up competing with it instead of integrating.

    First they try this goofy PosteCS [usps.com] system which, as far as I can tell, is directly trying to compete with encrypted e-mail (we can blame the US, Canada, AND France for this dumb idea).

    Then they try this eBillPay [usps.com] idea to send checks through the internet, which is competing with exactly the same service that is offered by most major banks (actually, since everybody seems to call it "eBillPay," I'm not sure who really is in control of it).

    And finally in the case of Canada Post, they decide trying to branch out into an entirely new realm: The ISP business. This is really interesting in and of itself because they'll have to outsource at least part of it to the local telecommunications people (I'm not sure what's state-owned up there and what's not).

    The USPS seems to be getting some sense and doing more with the net. According to their website [usps.com], they'll print letters and cards and such and mail them instead of just checks (which sounds a lot like a telegram). But that still has to compete with e-mail.

    Personally, I think their best bet is to become digital certificate authorities/digital key signatories/something along those lines. It could be seen as an expansion of their existing services instead of branching out into new ones, as a lot of what they offer is confirmation of mailing, delivery, receipt, insurance, protecting message/package from point A to point B, and so on.

    And since it's already a fellony to defraud them and they have their own law enforcement arm, they could do a hell of a lot more than what Verisign could do when they gave a Microsoft certificate to the wrong guy ("I'm sorry, you'll have to download this new Windows patch... We promise it won't happen again!").

    Hell, if I can get my passport at the post office...

  • From the GPL: This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

    The reason this is in there is because something that is Free can not have any value and, pardon the gross simplification, thus you can not be suid if anything goes wrong.

    So the question I ask is does a "Free" ISP have a simeler loop hole in it?

  • or maybe the "broadband for all goodness" you were referring to was the same as I was :)
    my apoligies eh... yea... should be soon (telus is working their ass off here i know)
  • I live in BC. I pay $45/mo for DSL+modem rental; if I buy my own modem, it's $35/mo.

    Exchange rate is 60-odd cents. Do the math: we've got cheap Internet.


    --
  • "Miller Lite won't get you girls"
    It WON'T?!?!! Uh, oh... NOW what the hell am I gonna do with the dozen cases of Millet Lite I have??? :)
    Shit... all along, I thought that maybe I just wasn't drinking enough to get those kind of results!
  • Those RCMP are pretty effective too.

    Good think Aline wields a pretty mean statue

  • Canada is evil and they are trying to take over the world. Canada must be stopped.

    Oh wait, I thought Canada was part of Microsoft. Nevermind.

  • Yeah, sue their asses! Ohh wait, they are probably one step from bankruptcy anyways. Go ahead, get your settlement from them and try to collect - my guess? They are _collection_ proof.
  • well, no, there's actually still us DSL users who get very fast DSL that works very well for less than some of you probably pay for limited dial-up, never mind the cheap DSL that's only 5x as fast as dial-up when it even works... But it would be sad to see the number of intelligent people on the internet (and slashdot) diminish.
    ---
  • Mother tree to maple leaf, deploying Special Agent Stockwell Day to create controversy and disorder! Expecting half of slashdotters to resign in the next few weeks.
    ---
  • They just are not that stupid.

    Yeah, that's why I had free access to Cybersurf for approximately 18 months taking this exact route. Trust me, they ARE that stupid.

    As for the latency issue, yep, spot on. Of course, I'm currently using Telus for my Internet access, and they are fucking shit. Mail servers time out badly, DNS is shit, and the connection speed fluctuates wildly. And their latency is terrible.

    And all this for the low low price of $22 CDN, plus the added bonus of being limited to 100 hours a month.

    ---

  • and, pardon the gross simplification, thus you can not be suid if anything goes wrong

    Nah. Just find a buffer overflow and you'll be suid in no time.
  • Buttcrack, SK? They must only be a couple hundred KM from here, so they might get it soon. But even then, i'm not sure Canadians need free DSL that much - Sympatico gives very fast DSL (have you seen the speeds in the US?) at a very low price (have you seen their prices?). You would almost think that some DSL providers in the US are trying to give the same price per Kbps as a modem, but I get 1.5Mbps dn/384Kbps up for 45$ a month.
    ---
  • You fool, Canada Post has been profitable (i.e. not subsidized by tax dollars) since at least the early 90s.

    Nothing like a blind right winger with an agenda. Go hang out with your buddy Stockwell.

  • Actually, I know someone (very well) who has the sad fortune of working there (3web/cybersurf.) They will be charging $10/month for their service, minus banner ads, and yanking the free service. They are in the process of doing this right now. And the really twisted thing is that there's talk that after yanking the free service and charging $10/month for the non-ads service, they may introduce ads again later.


    Just another fucked up, loony "no business plan" company born in Alberta's wacked out "entrepreneurial" business climate. That company is so f*cked up, I give them maybe 6-8 months, if that, before they go down the tube completely. Put it this way, everyone in their Toronto office is trying to get out of there...


    Ryan

  • by Night Goat ( 18437 ) on Monday July 09, 2001 @06:22PM (#96601) Homepage Journal
    It actually works really well on carpets. You just have to clean the carpet before the stain sets in. Don't be disparaging an actual good product.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR.
  • It takes a week to get a 1kg package from New Zealand Regina Saskatchewan. It also takes a week to get a letter from a place 5 hours away from Regina to Regina. This make sense?

    Makes sense to me. Actual transport in bulk, whether across town or across the world, is easy, fast, and cheap. Having human beings read each individual address (often hand-written) and make sure it ends up in exactly the right place, losing or misplacing fewer than one in a thousand properly addressed packages, is hard, slow, and expensive.

    I know from experience that city-to-city letter mail usually only takes 2-3 days, so I'll assume that you're talking about mail from rural Saskatchewan.

    One day to pick up, one day to sort, one day to transport by truck, another day to sort, and one for final delivery. Change that to one day to transport by air, and you've got the same schedule for intra-province from a rural area and for international mail. Sure, they could do it overnight, but you'd have to pay for it, and most people would rather wait for an extra few days than pay fifty times as much for postage (to get overnight mail to or from a small town, you'd basically have to hire a guy to drive or fly out a handful of packages every day; ridiculously expensive).
    --
  • Truth in advertising? In America? Hah.

    Your wife needs a lesson from George Carlin in American Bullshit [abctella.com]:

    "...America's most profitable business is still the manufacture, packaging, distribution, and marketing of bullshit. high-quality, grade-A, prime-cut, pure American bullshit."
    ...
    "...stunningly and embarrassingly full of shit"
    ...
    "If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse!"

    The best defense is a brain -- there's not much we can do for the blissfully ignorant sheeple. :-)

  • How about "free with blah blah blah cost $399" ads? That's my pet peeve...

  • Last time I checked, all the free ISPs (in the United States) had folded except for K-Mart's. I still have one of their CDs, and I was thinking about installing it so I'd have a backup ISP in case my DSL line went down.

    Or has the Bluelight deal gone south as well?
  • I wonder how long it will be until dial-up goes the way of BBS's?

    Not soon enough for my liking... and I hope to see dynamic IP addresses go with it.

    Dial-up access has done some good things for making the Internet accessable, but it's only a stepping stone to an infrastructure where every host is connected all the time over broadband lines.

    The problem with dialup is that it enforces the idea that your machine is only a client, with just enough access rights to talk to the Big Servers out there. Big Servers, of course, require Big Connections, which cost thousands of dollars each month, so they are the exclusive domain of Big Companies.

    The original intent of the Internet was that every machine would be equal, with its own IP address, and the smallest machine would have the same rights to provide services as the largest. Practically every consumer-level Internet technology seems designed to go against this, from Dial-up temporary connections through an ISP, to DHCP randomly assigned IP addresses, to Acceptable Usage Policies which prohibit running any sort of server at all.

    I admire the goal of freenets, which is to provide free or affordable Internet access to those who would otherwise be without, but I would be much happier if they were unnecessary.

    (BBS's, on the other hand, were a Good Thing. The phone company never once complained that I had a computer answering my phone line 24-7, or that I was providing services, which even little consumers like me were able to do. The consumer Internet has turned that model into a much more centralised system, where that sort of behaviour is not allowed.)



  • Now whatever gave me the notion it was a private company?

    Thanks for reducing my ignorance, a favor I am always grateful for. =)

    -Kasreyn

    P.S. the mafia thing was totally in jest, for anyone who read it while under the influence of no sense of humor.

  • Pinball Wizard typed: I don't quite get it. Advertising supports TV just fine. Furthermore, all TV gives you is a rough guesstimate of how many viewers watched an ad. They have no idea who is channel surfing, snacking or going to the bathroom. How is it that TV advertising is so expensive and profitable to the stations that sell it?

    Despite millions upon millions of Internet users (and thousands added by the day), the Internet ad market is "in a downturn." Why is it in a downturn? Well, the market is in a downturn because the analysts say so. Advertising anlysts and (especially) financial analysts say "the ad market is falling, the ad market is falling!" like so many repetitive chicken littles, and the industry hears it and follows right after them. You hear the market for ads is down, so you aren't willing to pay as much for them; then site publishers hear the averaage payout has dropped so they reduce their prices to keep the competition from getting ahead. That leads to lower and lower prices as site publishers fight with each other over dollars that become more and more scarce because advertisers hear the market has collapsed. This leads to dotcom layoffs and failures beyond what we would see otherwise. The ad market, just like the stock market, is based on perception. If most people believe there's a problem, you'll have a problem.
    And who profits from the downturn? The big media companies (Viacom, NBC/GE, AOLTW, etc.) can charge more for their own traditional broadcast and print ads. Oh, and it just so happens that those same companies own most of the financial and advertising analysts... Catching on?
    CNBC, MarketWatch, Fortune, Money... You know who owns them. NOW you get it.

    And no, I don't really believe in conspiracies... Just when a few companies control all areas of a particular market, you see them behave in similar ways from coincidence more than collusion.

  • I'm an American living in Canada, and while Canada is in general a pretty nice place to life, Canada Post is pretty scary. Think of all the jokes we Americans have about the US Postal Service. Compared to Canada Post it gives good service

    I'm a Canadian living in the United States, and I gotta concur with the above. The US Post Office is one of the best parts of my daily life down here. I sell mail-order, and dealing with USPS people is a dream compared to the drugstore clerks back home working the postal counter (Canada has gotten rid of most of its post offices. Retail postal sales and pickups are done through local businesses--often Shoppers' Drug Mart in the Toronto area).

    As to Canada Post's internet venture, perhaps their definition of "lifetime" is the same length of time that Canada Post takes to deliver a letter from Toronto to Brampton.
  • My wife is from Europe, where truthfulness in ads seems to be something the governments still care about, and it has taken her YEARS to build up enough skepticism of ads to not believe all the patently fraudulent bullshit that is perpetrated here.

    You've hit the nail on the head, I think... if I had my way, we'd have no truth in advertising whatsoever. Car commercials would show the cars going 200mph, then extruding wings and lifting off to shoot down the Soviet invaders, all for just $19.95. Fast-food places would say that their milkshakes cured cancer. Microsoft would say that failure to use their software was a license violation punishable by law. People would have to actually do some research, or talk to their friends, to find out which products were good enough to buy, everyone would get accustomed to the idea that the stuff that comes out of corporate mouthpieces is greed-laced extract of horseshit, and we'd all be a lot better off.
    Similar things apply to the laws that keep Las Vegas "fair" by limiting the casinos to removing your money at a fixed, gradual rate, but I digress...
  • THE FACT BIT: The headline on this article is misleading. All 3-Web/Cybersurf services are being cancelled-- not just the ones resold through Canada Post. I don't know what it's like in other Canadian cities, but here, you could buy a "Free Internet For Life" 3Web CD from the local variety store (actually, you still can-- 3Web evidently hasn't told its resellers about its nefarious plan yet). They were rebranded and sold or given out by numerous companies (e.g. HMV)-- I guess that was their plan: targeted advertising.

    THE RANTY BIT: Now while 'Free Internet For Life' may be an impossible claim, those people (like my girlfriend) who bought the CD based on its advertising got very little 'Free Internet' (as little as 5 days!). I've encouraged her (and the few other people I know who bought a 3Web CD) not to go onto 3Web/Cybersurf's new pay-for-internet plan, because the faster the backlash of false advertising runs this company into the ground, the better.

    END BIT: Anyway, that's my rant. Apologies for the disjointedness. I guess I'm just pissed off that now I've got to do the extra work of getting my girlfriends and other friends signed up to REAL internet accounts. $^#%#%$@!!!

    SIG BIT:
  • Seeing as how this wasn't one of those CDs where RIAA, ASCAP, and BMI grab a big chunk off the top, how could they not make money selling the CDs? Unless you mean selling the CDs *and* providing the service. Or was the post office charging them $11 apiece to provide the retail space?
  • The drug laws have banned the manufacture of the "real" Coca-Cola since before anybody here was born.
  • Interestingly, there was a Freenet in Toronto (a friend of mine did volunteer support work for them), but it folded due to lack of interest. Dial-up access became too cheap. The dial-up ISP business is really competitive in the Greater Toronto Area, and Toronto has one of the largest internet concentrations in the world, following New York and the SF bay area.
  • Did you have to buy the $9.95 CD to sign up? If so, the terms of service should be enforceable as a contract. And while down here in the States our Commandeerer in Chief doesn't understand that lawsuits to enforce contracts are the very foundation of the common legal system, you may have a leg to stand on. The original $9.95 may count as "consideration" in return for which you contracted to receive Internet service for life. A lot of guarantees for life are carefully worded to apply to the life of the product rather than of the individual. Has the Internet worn out? If not, hire a lawyer to enforce your rights. We have a few who won't be busy making sure insurance companies pay for health care according to their own policy, since Dubya thinks that contract enforcement leads to "frivilous lawsuits." Bob
  • If the canadian program said "Free internet for life", then they are obligated to fufill that contract for as long as both parties to that contract exist.

    "Free Internet for Life" does not a contract make. A contract requires consideration in order to be a contract. A promise to maintain a service without consideration is just not enforcable.
  • I don't quite get it. Advertising supports TV just fine. Furthermore, all TV gives you is a rough guesstimate of how many viewers watched an ad. They have no idea who is channel surfing, snacking or going to the bathroom. How is it that TV advertising is so expensive and profitable to the stations that sell it?
    On the internet, you can target your audience to a much greater degree than with TV. Additionally you can, to some degree, directly track response to your ads. On top of that, it could easily be proved that the internet audience is wealthier and better educated as a whole than TV audiences, and therefore has more money to spend on an advertisers product.

    I am guessing that the 'direct response' aspect of internet ads is also its downfall. If advertisers are primarily looking for click-throughs, then that is the problem. Based on an entirely subjective and anecdotal survey of how internet ads are used, very few(none) of my friends and family click on the ads. However, most of us have learned of companies or products through these ads and later patronized these companies.

    The reason we don't click on the ads is because as a whole, we are not impulsive buyers. Since we have the whole internet at our disposal, we will usually do some research on your company and product and compare those to other companies and products. Its not that we didn't read your ad - we just did some more research before buying.

    If ads were sold by the number of eyeballs, rather than the number of click-throughs, then theres no reason that advertising shouldn't work.(Right?) However, if its the other way around, then I can easily see how advertising on the net might be tanking.

    Miranda's murder was never solved because the suspect invoked his right to remain silent. Now that's ironic.
  • but I was out of town.

    Good point, but if we look at any normal investment (say, public company), risks must be disclosed. Failure to disclose known risks (including forseeable financial problems, acts of god, etc) can also land the company in court.

    I'm not saying sue them, but refund some people their money. It's ignorant to say 'free for life' if you know you can't do it. I'd think it would have been obvious from the start (did they really think they'd be handing out free access 50 or 60 years later?).

    Really, the word 'free' gets abused, in many contexts, and it pisses me off.

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