Internet Story: 12 May 1999
AOL goofs again Just when we were all getting excited that AOL may actually do something revolutionary in the UK we get news of some half-baked scheme to reduce monthly bills from £16.99 to £9.99. Unless this is some stop-gap measure to try and stem the tide of people leaving AOL for the "free" ISPs, it's yet another example of how AOL UK just doesn't understand what is happening in the UK. This is NOT the US market - the UK market is radically different. We may yet see the AOL 0800 access model appear - I hope we do. That (or becoming a "Freeserve") is the only way that AOL is going to survive in the UK.
Easy Everything On a positive note it appears that AOL may be involved in the "easyEverything" cybercafes that Stelios Haji-Ioannou, owner of the successful EasyJet airline company, is planning to develop. The first will be in Victoria, London and should open on 21 June, with 420 workstations. A second is planned for Amsterdam. At the moment prices in CyberCafes start from £5/hour. The new venture hopes to offer access at £1/hour. We should see roll out across the country later this year.
US Online Grocery Shopping In a supposedly secret (well it can't be THAT secret if we know about it!) trial, Safeway Inc. is testing an online grocery shopping model that it hope to roll out across the USA. Grocery shopping in the US is nothing new but a nationwide service certainly would be. Peapod is the company that is usually held up as the "online grocer" in the USA, but they only service a few major cities and not the whole nation. There are going to be huge order fulfillment problems to overcome for Safeways. Selling groceries online is a little different to selling non-perishable books like Amazon. Not much sign of a national supplier in the UK yet, though ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury are experimenting with regional systems. See the Contra Costa Retailing & Restaurant Journal article for more info.
Online Serbian War Diary If you want to see what an independent, 34 year old, filmmaker in Belgrade who goes by the initials A.G. (for his own safety) is seeing in Serbia go along to "The War Diaries". "I see Kosovo and Serbia as Chernobyl nuclear reactor which has just exploded, and starts to spread and radiate horror all over Europe," says A.G. He has used text, digitized video, and audio files to describe the frustration, fear, and occasional humor of war. He has harsh words to say for both NATO and the Serbian regime. Check out an email interview that Wired carried out with him.
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999
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