March 14, 1994 (a) From: an16061 at anon.penet.fi Subject: imminent drowning of the net in sticky brown liquid Contents: ========= 1. Preamble 2. The Future History of PepNet 1. Preamble =========== Fuck: - EFF - ClariNet - Netcom - the cypherpunk/objectivism/"free-speech" complex - all other net.rapers and drones of the corporate greed fungus who refuse to recognize the real threats to freedom of expression on the Internet 2. The Future History of PepNet =============================== 1994 ==== - July 1994: Pepsico Inc., makers of Pepsi-Cola, announces the creation of PepNet. PepNet will be a public-access network of BBSes, with nodes in most major cities, providing low-cost access to images, sounds, and text files. The press release states that Pepsico will purchase files on a lump-sum basis for public domain distribution, and that Pepsico believes the cost to it of the network will be offset by the positive publicity generated. - December 1994: PepNet is up and running, with approximately 500 subscribers North America-wide. The most popular download items are R-rated images purchased from Playboy, images and sounds from popular Paramount TV shows and movies, and the library of public-domain classics schnorred from world.std.com. The fact that all of these are available freely elsewhere does not seem to faze the PepNet people. Pepsico announces the expansion of PepNet services to include Internet services, in particular the Usenet newsgroups, on some sites. 1995 ==== - March 1995: PepNet is a standing joke on the Internet/Usenet, but its success proves that it will at least not be an embarrassment to Pepsico. Pepsico starts heavily promoting PepNet in computer circles. Pepsi releases a general-broadcast TV ad which features two 1/2-second shots of young people laughing while looking at a computer screen and drinking Pepsi. - August 1995: In a major joint press release, Pepsico, Microsoft, and Apple announce the CyberSurfBoard, a low-cost computer specialized for connecting to nets such as PepNet. Along with the low price for hardware and software, users get 1 month of free access and 1 hour of free download time on PepNet. - December 1995: CyberSurfBoard sales are brisk. There are now approximately 20,000 subscribers to PepNet, and nodes in every major city. Magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Wired, and the four major US TV networks, have now jumped on the bandwagon and are releasing images and sounds. Various copycat services are starting up or in development by Philip Morris, GE, and Mitsubishi. The success of PepNet baffles longtime Internet users, since all the services it provides are provided better elsewhere. This point of view does not get much coverage in the established media. PepNet begins providing very low-cost Usenet feeds to other sites. 1996 ==== - March 1996: Coke releases an ad featuring young people talking and laughing while looking at a computer screen and drinking Coke. - June 1996: Pepsico and an unnamed Chicago BBS operator reach a quiet out-of-court settlement. The sysop was sued for allegedly harboring and encouraging people who took images from PepNet and distributed them free on the Internet. The sysop agrees to pay Pepsico $350,000 and to desist from operating a BBS for five years. - September 1996: PepNet subscribers are in the high hundreds of thousands. 20% of all Usenet articles now flow through the sites uh-huh.pepnet.com and/or new-gen.pepnet.com (which are really virtual sites made up of dozens of machines each). 3% of all non-technical articles on Usenet come from PepNet sites. A flame war breaks out on several technical and non-technical newsgroups about whether the presence of things like "uh-huh.pepnet" and the line Organization: PepNet (The Net for a New Generation) in the headers of Usenet messages constitutes advertising, and if so whether it subverts NSF Internet use policy. - October 1996: Pepsico announces "The PepNet Eloquence Awards". The 10 people who write the most eloquent Usenet articles of the year (in PepNet's opinion) will receive 1 year of free access and unlimited download time on PepNet. Time-Warner and Pepsico announce a long-term cooperative agreement on provision of images and services. _Time_ gives exclusive rights to its electronic version to PepNet. Paramount bites its lip but continues to provide images to PepNet, since it's the biggest thing going. 1997 ==== - January 1997: The "advertising" flame war is being won by Pepsi. Many university administrators, alerted that PepNet offers outrageously cheap Usenet feeds, have switched to PepNet feeds. Now about 35% of Usenet articles flow through PepNet sites. - April 1997: The PepNet Eloquence Awards are announced. Five US college students, including two who argued vociferously in support of PepNet, are among the winners. JetStream (Philip Morris's copycat network) and Spectrum (Mitsubishi's copycat network) now route about 8% of Usenet articles. 1998 ==== - January 1998: The number of articles per day on Usenet is now about 30 times what it was five years ago. PepNet, JetStream, and Spectrum now route 80% of Usenet articles. 15% of articles on technical newsgroups are posted from sites on these three nets. This is attributed to companies and universities cutting back on direct Usenet feeds because of good group PepNet rates. Pepsico announces a modest downturn in profits. - February 1998: Pepsico announces cuts to its Advertising and PepNet divisions. Further financial review is undertaken. PepNet modestly increases its user fees. - April 1998: _Time_ runs an article on how the three major Usenet providers are losing money on their networks. Pepsico makes its full financial report for the fiscal year. It seems that its profits have dipped more sharply than it had previously announced. Pepsico floats a modest proposal on the net. Either: (a) It can increase its user fees by 50% in order to save PepNet, or (b) It can drastically reduce the Usenet feeds it provides, or (c) It can add the header Sponsored-by: Pepsico, makers of Pepsi-Cola to all articles it routes, and the header X-Advertising: You got the right one, baby! on all non-technical articles it routes, and cut its advertising division instead. - May 1998: PepNet proponents have the edge in the resultant massive flame war. Several people claim that the addition of advertising to Usenet was Pepsi's intention from the start. They are labelled paranoids, and their credit records are somehow revealed via an anonymous server in Venezuela. - August 1998: Brad Templeton, the Undersecretary of Science and Information Technology in President Quayle's administration, announces a major shift in NSF policy. Advertising on NSF sites, "within acceptable limits", is explicitly allowed. Cuts to financial support for university computer networks are made. 1999 ==== - March 1999: Pepsico announces an upturn in profits. Joel Furr, the head of PepNet since its inception, is credited with the success. 2000 ==== - January 2000: PepNet has 10 million subscribers worldwide. 95% of Usenet articles have at least 3 lines of "sponsorship" or advertising messages. 50% of Usenet articles have at least 8 lines of advertising. 10% of the total messages on Usenet, in every newsgroup, are ads for non-computer-related products and services. The ailing Coca-Cola Company is taken over by Philip Morris Inc. 2020 ==== Furr retires from Pepsico at age 45, with a generous pension, after numerous accolades on his brilliance. An unauthorized biography of him, written by Moon Unit Zappa, is released. The biography gets great attention on the Internet... which is now generally known as PepNet. == This article brought to you by SALT MERCHANT "hope you like jammin too" Bates College... home of the lewdest nudist Buddhists "All the best freaks are here!" -Marillion -----------------------______________-------------------------- Wek, DBC Jinglemeister■ "Hey, you" ■eweker at abacus.bates.edu ______________________■--------------■_________________________ This .sig file has been brought to you by the letters E and W and by the number 12,091,974.
Note: I'm not the author, these tidbits were all forwarded to me via
email. Where I know the author, it is given.
The From: header may be the author, or it may just be the person who forwarded it to me.
Feel free to contact me to claim authorship.