By our latest count, there are at least 75 companies providing access to Usenet Newsgroups. But the short and sweet of it all is that there are 3 major Usenet providers, plus 2 or 3 second tier and individual providers. And the service levels of the big 3 are almost identical. Every Usenet company you see advertised is just re-selling access to one of these 5 back ends.
Our Newsgroup Provider Rating Philosophy is simple. Buy directly from one of the big 3 providers whenever you can. And if you can’t buy directly, then buy through the resellers who have been around the longest and have the best support records.
Let’s face it – Unlimited usenet accounts have settled on $10 a month as the standard. You might save a buck or two with this reseller or that reseller, but only for a few months or so – they can’t keep it up because the reseller margin is too thin. Some of the less scrupulous resellers have been known to get in the market, build up a bunch of accounts with a low rate, and then make it VERY difficult to cancel the service. Others are one-man operations that don’t have the resources to provide their customers with support. Scary? Yes. Rare? Also yes.
Because margins are so slim, some resellers have done some nifty bundling – and if you happen to be in the market for some of the bundled services it might be worth buying them all from one reseller.
It might seem simplistic. It might seem boring. But every month when we re-evaluate the companies and plans on the market, we keep coming back to the same providers: Giganews, Supernews, UsenetServer, NewsHosting, EasyNews, NewsDemon, NGroups, and the two odd-men out: AstraNews and GoGo Usenet.
Giganews, Supernews, UsenetServer, NewsHosting, and Easynews are all managed by either Giganews or Highwinds – the two largest of the usenet back-end companies. NewsDemon and NGroups are trusted resellers that have been in the industry for a long time and have a great REAL user support base. For all these companies, we either personally know the owners or have friends who personally vouch for the owners. We trust these companies.
There are two others that we recommend with just a bit of hesitation, but they are so unique that we feel we have to include them. AstraNews is on our list, despite having occasional problems, because of their unique place in the geography of Usenet. And GoGo Usenet is included because of their particularly unique user interface.
You’ve probably noted that there are other review sites out there that recommend different providers month to month. We’ll let you in on a little secret: ALL the Usenet providers pay affiliate commissions to usenet review sites. Some pay more than others. Some offer short term quotas for a given number of signups. It’s in the best interest of some review sites to follow the money.
We don’t play that way. Our recommendations don’t change that often because the quality of the companies and their underlying services doesn’t change that often. We don’t let commissions decide who we recommend – in fact ONE of the providers on our recommended list pays the lowest commissions in the newsgroup industry and has specifically stiffed us on multiple fronts. But they have a great service to their end-users, and that’s what we base our reviews upon. So we’re obligated by our ethics to include them in our recommendations. No – we won’t say who it is…