Pros:Free for now and no cost if you stay within the monthly limit.
Cons:The monthly limit is getting shorter and shorter and will eventually no longer be free.
The Bottom Line: If you can fall within the reduced 10 hours and don't use the internet often, then this is a would be the ISP for you right now.
It had only been less than six months after switching from AOL to Freeinternet that an email appeared to let me know that Freeinternet was now changing to NetZero. Sure, I had heard the commercials advertising that the internet should be free and the plug for NetZero, so what choice did I have but to switch or to move to another ISP. The good thing about the switch was that it was still unlimited surfing but with the normal one inch ad bar that placed itself across the screen.
MAKING THE SWITCH
Moving over from Freeinternet to NetZero was easy. All I had to do was load the software from the link provided and then keep the same setup for the ID I had previously used. The download did not take very long and it then I was well underway to my new free internet experience. When logging into NetZero, you see a logon box that pops up in order for you to connect. As you are connecting, the box (or "NZTV") shows your progress as you log on.
Please note that if you were not previously a Freeinternet customer and want to use the NetZero service, you will need to order a CD with the program software which would be at a cost of $9.95.
Once you are connected with NetZero, you are taken to a main screen in which you have to click one of the hypertext links in order to start your browser. You can choose to look up stock symbols, get quotes for airline tickets or hotel reservations and browse the news and weather to name a few. Sometimes I have found that this screen takes a short period of time to load and other times, a number of minutes to load. As soon as the link is clicked then your browser takes you to the site. It does not take too long before the one inch bar appears with advertisements for you to view in the hopes that you will also click that link.
THE AD BAR
You will also notice a small bar that also provides a way to link to other sites as you are surfing on the internet. The bar can be docked at the top or bottom so if you are surfing various sites, it really does not get in the way. The nice thing that I have found with the service is that there aren’t a lot of popup ads that appear all the time as you are online.
In the event that you do not click on any of the ads on the bar you are reminded of this in about 1/2 hour - 1 hour being online. A box pops up to remind you to click on the
advertisers in order to keep the internet free. Then, within a minute after that, a warning box comes up to let you know that you have 30 seconds to decide whether or not you would like to stay online as it has been noted that there is inactivity in your account (you have not clicked any of the advertisements). If you do not click in time, then you will be “kicked” off the system.
After having the benefit of free internet service for over six months, the change came once again to reduce the number of hours to 40 per month. This was at the time that the
commercials for NetZero started to become less frequent. Their push was to move to their “Platinum” service, which includes a ultrathin bar (less that 1/2 inch long, but still goes across the width of the screen), no advertisements and unlimited surfing for the price of
$9.95 per month. Of course, in comparison to AOL, this price is less than half so it is a good deal overall. In trying out the “Platinum” service, I did notice that once you were connected, you got to the main screen, but did not need to click on one of the links to launch the browser. The thin bar does appear and this time, without any ads.
Since, I did not spend too much time outside of work on the internet at home, I felt that 40 hours a month would be sufficient. This worked for a few months until the next email came to notify that as of October 1 (yesterday), the number of hours per month was being reduced again to 10. In the weeks prior to October 1, NetZero previewed for the past 4 weekends in September the Premium service and also offered its users ways to be able to save on the service by buying six months for the price of five and providing new sign-ups a way to enter a sweepstakes.
A follow-up email then announced the merger of NetZero and Juno to form another company to provide internet service.
I feel that it is just a matter of time before the 10 hours is reduced to say 2 and then afterwards, the service will no longer be free. All I can say right now is that using the 10 hours for this month, I can see that the loading of web pages is much quicker; probably due to many moving over to "Platinum". In addition, there are now package offerings on NetZero for 15 months @149.25, 5 months @49.75 and of course, 1 month @$9.95 in comparison to AOL rates.
If that were the case, I may decide to move along to another free internet service (if any others still exist) or use the “Platinum” service with NetZero. But for now, I will see how it goes with the reduced number of hours per month.
Thanks for reading.
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