Netzero bought FreeInet around 1998. FreeInet was the very first free national internet company. NetZero was introduced in October 1998, founded by Ronald T. Burr (original Chief executive officer), Stacy Haitsuka, Marwan Zebian and Harold MacKenzie. NetZero grew to one thousand,000 users in half a year. NetZero’s model was free Internet connection to bring in a crowd for highly targeted advertising. The ad offering technology has over nine patents and NetZero was the first company to invent real-time URL targeted advertising based upon surfing patterns under US patent 6,366,298 [2] Monitoring of Individual Internet Usage. The founders raised $60 million in venture capital in 4 separate equity financings.

Venture investors included idealab, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Foundation Capital, Clearstone Venture Partners and Compaq. NetZero signed a distribution deal with Compaq and was the only ISP to be within the out-of-box experience (OOBE). In September 1999 NetZero went public on the NASDAQ exchange using the symbol NZRO. Mark Goldston was hired as CEO, Charles Hilliard was hired as CFO and Ronald Burr took the positioning of President and Chief Technology Officer. In December 1999, NetZero and NBC Sports decided to a significant deal that could see NetZero replace Prudential Financial as the sponsor for that network’s NBA halftime studio show, titled “NetZero @ The Half”, which gave NetZero a significantly larger audience for its product.

In late 1999 a number of other companies began to copy the free access model including Juno Online Services, (which since August 1996 had offered E-mail although not World Wide Web access for free), Spinway launched with Yahoo! and AltaVista, Freei and BlueLight Internet, that was originally properties of Kmart. They claimed to offer you free Internet service forever, to acquire displaying ads, either over a permanent toolbar or over a “banner” which was shown when online. NetZero sued them for infringing on the banner ad patent.[3] Right after the dot-com bust in early 2000, NetZero acquired its competitors as each went bankrupt. Additionally NetZero acquired AimTV which displayed full video quality 30 second ad spots along with Simpli and RocketCash.

Starting in January 2001, NetZero began charging for access time over 40 hours monthly. Users who exceeded 40 hours were sent to the company’s “Platinum” service, which provided unlimited access for $9.95 per month. With the income statement reinvigorated through charging heavier users of the system, NetZero merged with its rival Juno Online Services and developed a new holding company, United Online which traded on NASDAQ beneath the symbol UNTD until Netzero was acquired by B. Riley Financial in July 2016. NetZero later lowered the threshold for free service to 10 hours each month.

In June 2005, the company released a new client that replaced the advertising bar with an Internet Explorer Browser Helper Object. In July 2005, NetZero introduced services called “3G,” standing for your “third generation of Internet.” The company charged $9.95 each month for that service, vaguely claiming it had been so quick, “you wouldn’t think it wasn’t broadband”. As dial-up connections are susceptible to the limits of 56k modems, the service will not increase transmission speed. Instead, the service prefetches HTML markup, JavaScript as well as other small files and compresses them. Video, images, along with other non-text files are certainly not compressed. This hnixdm also utilizes the user’s cache to avoid redownloading. A newer service, “NetZero DSL”, was launched shortly after. In 2012 the organization said they still had about 750,000 dial-up subscribers.[4]

NetZero has versions of their proprietary dial-up software for computers running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. NetZero previously offered a Linux version in the NetZero software advertised for being for Linspire, though the software may be placed on any Debian-based i386 or x86-64 Linux distribution; NetZero can be set up on any RPM-based Linux distribution provided that Alien is utilized to transform the NetZero Debian package into an RPM package. In addition, the Linux version demands the Java Runtime Environment to become installed before utilization of the NetZero dialer. Nevertheless the current Linux version of the dialer no longer functions properly with the service since 2009.

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