As the free ISP shakeout continues, freenet has launched a paid product that also membership of the a "virtual shopping mall" created by BarterCard founder Kerry Gordon.
Under freenet's standard account, customers have been getting their first 10 hours a month free, above which they pay $14.75. Its new freenet 100 account will provide 100 hours a month plus membership of Go-Shopping for $14.95.
Freenet says Go-Shopping launched December, 2000, and has 75 merchants offering products and services from petrol to insurance to clothing and beverages. Its regular sign-up price is $24.95 a month, which includes 100 Internet hours.
At the Go-Shopping site, each merchant posts 15 to 20 items each week that are discounted for Go-Shopping customers. Some products can be purchased directly online, and other products – clothing, for example – that may require closer, real life inspection are represented by vouchers that are redeemed at discounted prices at the merchants' stores.
Kerry Gordon says freenet 100 customers who take advantage of the online mall will "almost certainly" make in shopping savings more than what they paid for monthly access.
"Early attempts at Internet retailing missed the boat," says Gordon. "We’re not seeking to replace high street or mall shopping, but supplement it in ways that benefit both consumers and retailers."
Among the features being touted by Go-Shopping are a multi-merchant online shopping cart – which it claims as a world first – and its Netfusion electronic payment system, developed in conjunction with GFG whose Unicard system is the payment backbone for 47 banks.