Type Subsidiary
Industry Internet service provider
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Parent United Online

NetZero is an Internet service provider based in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. It is a subsidiary of United Online, owner of Juno Online Services and BlueLight Internet Services. The current (2007) chairman, president, and CEO of United Online (and thus NetZero) is Mark Goldston.[1]



NetZero launched in October 1998, founded by Ronald T. Burr, Stacy Haitsuka, Marwan Zebian and Harold MacKenzie. The first free internet service provider[citation needed], NetZero grew to 1,000,000 users in six months. NetZero's model was free internet access to attract an audience for highly targeted advertising. The ad serving technology has over 9 patents and NetZero was the first company to invent real-time URL targeted advertising based on surfing patterns[citation needed]. NetZero signed a distribution deal with Compaq and was the only ISP to be included in the OOBE Out-Of-Box Experience. In September 1999 NetZero went public on the NASDAQ exchange with the symbol NZRO. Mark R. Goldston was hired as CEO, Charles S. Hilliard was hired as CFO and Ronald T. Burr took the position of President and Chief Technology Officer.

In late 1999 several other companies began to copy the NetZero free access model including Juno Online Services, Spinway launched with Yahoo! and AltaVista, Freei and BlueLight Internet, which was originally owned by Kmart. They claimed to offer free Internet service forever, in exchange for displaying ads, either on a permanent toolbar or on a "banner" that was shown when online. NetZero sued them for infringing on a banner ad patent[2]. After the dotcom bust in early 2001, NetZero acquired its competitors as each went bankrupt. In addition NetZero acquired AimTV which displayed full video quality 30 second ad spots as well as Simpli and RocketCash.

Starting in January 2001, after the crash of internet advertising, NetZero began charging for access time over 40 hours per month. Users who exceeded 40 hours were directed 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 acquired its rival Juno Online Services and created a new holding company, United Online which now trades on NASDAQ under the symbol UNTD. NetZero later lowered the threshold for their free service to 10 hours per 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 a service called "3G," standing for the "third generation of Internet". The company charged $9.95 per month for the service, vaguely claiming it was so fast, "you wouldn't believe it wasn't broadband". As dial-up connections are subject to the limits of 56k modems, the service does not increase transmission speed. Instead, the service pre-fetches HTML markup, JavaScript and other small files and compresses them. Video, images, and other non-text files are not compressed. This technology also utilizes the user's cache to prevent redownloading. A newer service, "Netzero DSL", was released soon after.

NetZero also has versions of its proprietary dial-up software for computers running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. NetZero previously offered a Linux version of the NetZero software advertised as being for Linspire, however the software could be installed on any Debian-based i386 or x86-64 Linux distribution; NetZero can also be installed on any RPM-based Linux distribution as long as Alien is used to convert the NetZero Debian package into an RPM package. In addition, the Linux version requires the Java Runtime Environment to be installed prior to use of the NetZero dialer. However the current Linux version of the dialer no longer functions properly with the service as of 2009.

See also

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External links

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