eWorld followed suit by offering more online time for the same monthly fee. eWorld's $8.95 per month charge now buys four hours of online time, up from two. Additional time was reduced from $4.95 to $2.95 hourly. eWorld also announced cancellation of its surcharge for use during "prime time" (an outmoded concept, since "prime time" in the online world seems to be late in the evening, not during business hours.)
Behind the scenes, eWorld is working on the next version of its Macintosh software. The software, code named Golden Gate, will have improved Internet access (I'm betting the farm that they'll offer newsgroups and gopher a la America Online), as well as multimedia and text-to-speech features. Sounds promising. Windows users will be able to log into eWorld "sometime in 1995," although a firm date for the Windows software hasn't been set.
CIS raised the monthly membership fee by $1, to $9.95 - making the service's pricing structure almost identical to its rivals - and added about 30 services to it's "core" features. CIS is trying with some success to shed the image that it's intended primarily for business users who want to pay through the nose for information.
CompuServe is gearing up to test a new online entertainment service. Code named "Reno", CIS says it will provide real-time chatting, Multi-User Dungeons, and graphical multi-player games. Macintosh testing of Reno will begin in early spring, with Windows testing to follow. The new service will be available to all by the end of the year.
So, Prodigy members - people who don't know a URL from UHF - have started jumping onto the Web at the rate of about 10,000 new users each week, making long-time Internauts and web service providers wonder aloud what this will do to bandwidth and system load on the Internet. I hope Prodigy is educating users about what it means to be on the web, what the Internet is, and why it's a Bad Thing to download a 20-megabyte QuickTime movie from a server in Finland at noon on a Monday.
Perhaps AOL has led you to believe that they've cracked down on this sort of thing. They haven't. A quick trek to the "member rooms" after hours will show a wide variety of diverse lifestyles and interests (rooms have names like MEN 4 MEN STEAMROOM, HOT AND MARRIED, and Hot TVs 4 Hot TV TS. You get the idea.) Checking the file areas for keywords like "skirt" and "xxx" reveals that there's material that isn't suitable for the kiddies. And while most of it is perfectly legal, most of it also violates AOL's "terms of service agreement."
The management may continue to attempt to stop the dirty pictures and sexy talk. Will they succeed? Doubtful. CompuServe couldn't, so they created a separate "adults only" chat area. I'm betting that sooner or later, that's what AOL will do. Whether they know it or not, those late-night dirty-talkers make up a large portion of their income. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.