Could anyone tell me how Netzero works? Is it just like an internet service provider, can you get the internet by just using Netzero? Thanks in return.

Not “just like” an Internet service provider, it is an Internet service provider. If you install their software on your PC, you then dial-up using one of their local numbers (they’ve got them almost everywhere), and you’re on the Internet, with an email account, to boot.

The absolutely free service only gives you, I believe, 10 hours of access per month, and you have to put up with an ad banner above Internet Explorer that takes up some screen space, and slows things down a bit (since it’s continually downloading new ads). If you pay for the $9.95 a month service, you have unlimited access, and you just have a slender toolbar above IE, without the ads.

Their “hi-speed” service, at $14.95 a month, uses various caching techniques to improve your browsing speed, though it won’t speed up file downloads at all. I haven’t seen it in action, and I have my doubts about whether it’s worth the extra $5, but who knows.

You use your own browser to surf the web (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, whatever you like), and you use your own email program to retrieve your mail (Outlook, Outlook Express, whatever). You can also access your email from their web page.

I used them for a few years before switching to a broadband connection, and didn’t have any big complaints. They’re certainly a bargain compared to AOL, and without all the ads and popups. I also got almost no spam at all on my Netzero email account, leading me to believe that they’re doing some serious filtering. They do not, however, provide any virus-checking, so make sure you’ve got Norton or McAfee, and keep it up-to-date.

I got a Netzero account in early 1999, back when it was free unlimited access. I only used it up until mid-2001, when I moved and started using someone else’s computer, but it worked quite reliably during the two years I used it… a welcome change from the ATT Worldnet and Bellsouth providers in that city, which constantly seemed to be crashing.

I can still check my Netzero account mail through Yahoo, and I get maybe one spam a month that way. Of course, I only ever gave that address to four people…