Ihug is looking for users keen to trial its new instant messaging service, but is reluctant to discuss the detail in public.
In an email sent out to select users, Ihug offers the chance to "be one of the first eva [sic]" to trial a product from US-based The Gooey, a company that specialises in a combined instant messaging, file sharing platform. The company is looking for 200 users whose PCs meet certain minimum specifications.
Ihug co-founder Tim Wood is unwilling to discuss the issue with IDGNet, however, claiming the project is under a non-disclosure agreement and that he would sue anyone who breaches it. Triallists are required to sign an NDA before being allowed into the pilot project and will be given a $15 credit to cover the costs involved with the service. They will also be eligible for an "exclusive offer" at the end of the trial.
Instant messaging services are proving hugely popular among home users with Microsoft and AOL battling it out with three products between them (Microsoft Messenger and AOL's ICQ and AIM platforms) along with a number of other players.
According to research company Jupiter Media Metrix, AIM has the highest number of unique users in the US with, 31.4 million, followed by MSN Messenger with 29.1 million and Yahoo Messenger with 19.1 million unique users. ICQ boasted 8.1 million users as of last April. A number of companies are developing cross-platform applications to allow end users to send messages to users on different applications.