In addition to the big 3 mega-usenet service providers, there are two other smaller Mega Newsgroup Server back end providers. Additionally, a number of Online Web-based Newsreader companies have their own databases.
One of the 2nd tier Mega-Usenet providers is Searchtech. Searchtech access is sold almost exclusively through AstraNews. It also serves as an emergency back end service for a number of Highwinds and Readnews based resellers.
Astranews is based outside the US and the EU, and has been known to take a more cavalier approach to content management. While you may find that spam and objectionable content is tagged and removed quickly on the big three mega servers, Astranews smaller footprint means they often fly under the radar. But being small and flying under the radar does have its drawbacks: they are not as well funded as the big three and have been known to have some serious hardware and software difficulties in the past. Never-the-less, they have a strong fanbase in certain circles.
The other 2nd tier Mega-Usenet back end is XS News. XSNews is a Dutch company that has been providing basic usenet services for a number of years. It appears that recently they were drawn into the News-Service.com confrontation with the Dutch BREIN copyright group. We don’t know the particulars, but from the looks of it they were not directly involved, but did buy up the resources of the former news-service company as many of the servers seem to be the same as the old closed company’s.
While we believe XSNews does have the resources to weather the turmoil, we are uncomfortable recommending them until all this gets worked out. As we all have seen in the past, all it takes is one easily mis-directed judge to issue an order to close down an entire company without notice. We TRULY hope this does not happen.
And finally, there are the smaller, independent providers that maintain their own databases. We can’t list them all, but at least one has built our trust, a Web Based thumbnail newsreader offered by a company called GoGo usenet. It appears they have about 800 days retention behind their interface, and to date we’ve never seen them have a technical hiccup. It is entirely possible that they are actually feeding from a bigger service like Highwinds or Searchtech, but we can’t see any sign of it. We’ve watched them long enough and talked to enough users that we feel comfortable recommending them.