Netzero bought FreeInet around 1998. FreeInet was the very first free national internet service provider. NetZero was released in October 1998, founded by Ronald T. Burr (original CEO), Stacy Haitsuka, Marwan Zebian and Harold MacKenzie. NetZero grew to one thousand,000 users in half a year. NetZero’s model was free Internet connection to bring in viewers for highly targeted advertising. The ad offering technology has over nine patents and NetZero was the very first company to invent real-time URL targeted advertising based upon surfing patterns under US patent 6,366,298  Monitoring of Individual Internet Usage. The pioneers raised $60 million in venture capital in 4 separate equity financings.
Venture investors included idealab, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Foundation Capital, Clearstone Venture Partners and Compaq. NetZero signed a distribution deal with Compaq and was the only real ISP to become within the out-of-box experience (OOBE). In September 1999 NetZero went public on the NASDAQ exchange with all the symbol NZRO. Mark Goldston was hired as CEO, Charles Hilliard was hired as CFO and Ronald Burr took the position of President and Chief Technology Officer. In December 1999, NetZero and NBC Sports consented to an important deal that will see NetZero replace Prudential Financial since the sponsor for your network’s NBA halftime studio show, titled “NetZero @ The Half”, which gave NetZero a significantly larger audience for the product.
In late 1999 several other companies began to copy the www netzero net free access model including Juno Online Services, (which since August 1996 had offered E-mail although not Internet access free of charge), Spinway launched with Yahoo! and AltaVista, Freei and BlueLight Internet, which was originally belonging to Kmart. They claimed to offer free Internet service forever, in exchange for displaying ads, either over a permanent toolbar or over a “banner” which had been shown when online. NetZero sued them for infringing on the banner ad patent. Following the dot-com bust during early 2000, NetZero acquired its competitors as each went bankrupt. In addition NetZero acquired AimTV which displayed full video quality 30 second ad spots in addition to Simpli and RocketCash.
Starting in January 2001, NetZero began charging for access time over 40 hours each month. Users who exceeded 40 hours were sent to the company’s “Platinum” service, which provided unlimited access for $9.95 per month. With all the income statement reinvigorated through charging heavier users in the system, NetZero merged with its rival Juno Online Services and developed a new holding company, United Online which traded on NASDAQ beneath the symbol UNTD until Netzero was acquired by B. Riley Financial in July 2016. NetZero later lowered the threshold for free company to 10 hours per month.
NetZero has versions of its proprietary dial-up software for computers running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. NetZero previously offered a Linux version from the NetZero software advertised to be for Linspire, though the software may be set up on any Debian-based i386 or x86-64 Linux distribution; NetZero may also be set up on any RPM-based Linux distribution provided that Alien is utilized to transform the NetZero Debian package into an RPM package. In addition, the Linux version requires the Java Runtime Environment to become installed just before utilisation of the NetZero dialer. Nevertheless the current Linux version in the dialer will no longer functions properly with all the service since 2009.