It’s still unbelievable that there are so many folks using full-priced
ISPs like AOL, MSN and earthlink when there are so many other CHEAPER
and sometimes even BETTER services available. I admit, I was an AOL
user back in the day. From what I remember, I was a subscriber from
1994 to 1998. I jumped ship when they decided to increase their monthly
fees. I switched to bellsouth at the time when they had a $10 a month
plan for a certain amount of hours per month limit (i don’t remember
exactly how many hours but it wasn’t much.) Around 1999, bellsouth also
increased their prices so I started to look around again. And around
that time, free ISPs were getting popular (remember them, the ones that
gave you free access and you allow yourself to be bombarded with ads!)
I hooked up with for awhile and they were pretty good at the
time, their ads weren’t that intrusive. Then came They
allowed you to surf for free with no ads (in twenty minute increments,
and then you had to click on their pop up ads in order to get another
twenty minutes..) By the end of 2000, the dot-com bust happened and
most of the free internet providers closed up shop. I think dotnow
(another free isp) was still around at that time so I used them for a
while. in 2001, a website called dunningfools exposed the unseemly
world of dunning (where surfers would share ways to gain access to the
internet at no cost). Once the major ISPs got wind of all of this,
their lawyers came down hard on this site and the users scattered. But
once you stop paying for internet service it’s hard to start back up so
I continued to look toward free service. So during the summer of 2001,
bluelight was available for free (as long as you can stand ads from
kmart). But not for long, they also switched to ‘pay’. Without
dunningfools and bluelight and the fact that I did not want to use
Netzero/Juno due to their ‘blah’ software, I succumbed to the ways of
‘pay’ and paid AT&T for their $4.95 service…… which was pretty
good while it lasted (they discontinued their cheap service and
switched everyone to their $15 service. no thanks!) With the help of a
great website:, I found a great ISP at a great price by the end of 2001:
And it’s been over a year since I initially signed up with them and the
service has been great. Their monthly fee is $5.95 for unlimited
access. They don’t require any software and they’ve been very reliable
and the connection speeds have been very consistent. They provide email
and newsgroup access and they don’t force any ads on you. As the recent
past has shown, a lot of these types of businesses come and go but I
really hope sticks around for awhile. I wish them big
success against operations like AOL and MSN who are blatantly price
gouging the public for something that definitely should be less than
$10 a month. If any of you are pay more than $10 a month for access,
please check out access4less and see if they have a local access number
in your area. You can definitely save some dough by switching. Post a
note to me here on the website if you decide to sign up with them b/c I
have a special link that you can use to sign up and by-pass the setup
fee that they normally charge new signups.
So to sum up: AOL, MSN, earthlink = evil. = $aving$