It appears as if my advice last year that Net users make the best of the
free-ISP lunch while they could is begining to have a ring of accuracy about
The noisiest of the free ISP operators,
i4free has started
a push to move many of its users from the free service to a flat-rate
option being provided under the
i4Free blames "secret discussions" that took place between Clear and Telecom
late last year for its plans to significantly reduce the amount of resource
made available to users of its free service. As we all know, Telecom and
Clear finally sat around a table and agreed to come to terms over the vexatious
issue of Internet interconnect charges -- and this, it would appear, may have
left i4free's business plan high and dry.
Sorry guys -- that's life -- you're dealing with big corporations for who the
bottom-line is the primary directive. It was only natural that the arbitrage
revenue would be nixed eventually and, as I said when the free-ISPs started
popping up, you can't support such a service on advertising and ecommerce
Of course, those willing to shell out their $14.95 a month to sign up for
the Slingshot service will (according to the sales-pitch) receive a "premium
Internet service" for those who "never want to get a busy signal and want
super fast transfer rates every time you dial-up."
Given that the dial-up ISP marketplace is already very competitive and that
the likes of XTRA, IHUG and ClearNet already have finely tuned pricing models,
I wonder how long Slingshot can provide a service of this alleged calibre at a 40
percent discount? I guess we'll just have to wait and see if they can
pull it off.
Slingshot Plays Big-Brother
While browsing the
Terms and Conditions
associated with an account with the new Slingshot ISP service I found this
"slingshot.co.nz may monitor your use of the Services and any material posted,
downloaded, transmitted or communicated using the Services for compliance
with slingshot.co.nz's Terms. slingshot.co.nz may pass on any material or
information it finds as a result to the relevant authority if slingshot.co.nz
suspects any illegal or offensive activity is involved, and you will
have no claim against slingshot.co.nz for this."
I guess it's up to you to decide whether you want to sign up with "big brother"
in order to save $10 a month on your Internet access. While I'm sure many
users will gladly give up rights that might otherwise require a court order to
infringe, but I'd also wager that there are more than a few who will find
this totally unacceptable.
How do YOU feel about this? Please
submit your feedback marked either "for publication"
or "not for publication" as desired.
It looks as if
Napster users might
want to give this service a wide berth, just in case they "accidentally" download
a copyrighted piece of music through Slingshot and find the cops on their
doorstep as a result.
Unlikely? Of course -- but, under the terms and conditions of Slingshot use
the ISP would be quite within their rights to pass the information on to the copyright
holders and we all know how wound-up the recording industry is about Net piracy
Join ClearNet? -- Not This Way
Are you thinking of joining
ClearNet now that
i4free is winding down its free-access and Clear's own free ISP
ZFree has closed off
new user accounts?
Well anyone who tried to join over the weekend would have received this
rather unfriendly response.
Hell -- I thought it would have been a great time to pick up new subscribers -- oh
well, I guess not.
Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
The first Aardvark Weekly of 2001 will go out tomorrow -- at which time
I'll also be tidying up the subscription list.
If you haven't received YOUR copy by Wednesday am then please drop me
a line and I'll make sure you're subscribed.
As always, your feedback is welcomed and...
Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it