CompuServe Ads: A Requiem for an Era

First GeoCities, and now this. We’re watching the end of an era. CompuServe, America’s first major online service, was shut down this week. These are the guys who actually trademarked the word email — a ridiculous claim they abandoned in 1984, fortunately for anyone offering email service today.

CompuServe ad in Byte magazine, January 1983.

CompuServe ad in Byte magazine, January 1983.

I’m just amazed they kept their servers running for the last thirty years. CompuServe’s old ads play like excerpts from history of the consumer Internet: from explaining the concept to hobbyists, to demonstrating its business applications. In memory of the time when the Internet came in a $39.95 box with 10c-per-minute access fees at 0.002 megabits per second, enjoy this trip down memory lane.

“The information service you won’t outgrow.” Ah, irony. Human ingenuity will always outgrow proprietary services, no matter how prevalent or pioneering.

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2 Comments on “CompuServe Ads: A Requiem for an Era”
  1. Romeo says:

    I think since the middle of 2000 did AOL show signs of struggling. From what I’ve been hearing about, AOL kicks ass in the US, but fails to make their mark across other continents. I think AOL wouldn’t shut down CompuServe unless they find new startups to replace it.

  2. Jay says:

    Thats nothing. I was there for the big 3 in the mid-90’s, before the dot com bubbled up. The big players as I remember were Compuserve, AOL and Delphi. I actually tried all three but AOL really got their stuff together, though ultimately would bow to the designs of HTML and the web as it evolved.

    one thing I needed the AOL account as well was for newgroups. Even those are relics now since its so easy to get any kind of content on the web now.

    Their empty promise reminds me of E-machines.

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