Netzero bought FreeInet around 1998. FreeInet was the first free national internet company. NetZero was introduced in October 1998, founded by Ronald T. Burr (original Chief executive officer), Stacy Haitsuka, Marwan Zebian and Harold MacKenzie. NetZero grew to one thousand,000 users in 6 months. NetZero’s model was free Internet connection to draw in a crowd for highly targeted advertising. The ad serving technology has over nine patents and NetZero was the 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 four 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 ISP to become within the out-of-box experience (OOBE). In September 1999 NetZero went public on the NASDAQ exchange with the symbol NZRO. Mark Goldston was hired as CEO, Charles Hilliard was hired as CFO and Ronald Burr took the positioning of President and Chief Technology Officer. In December 1999, NetZero and NBC Sports decided to an important deal that would see NetZero replace Prudential Financial since the sponsor for the network’s NBA halftime studio show, titled “NetZero @ The Half”, which gave NetZero a significantly larger audience because of its product.
In late 1999 a number of other companies begun to copy the netzero internet free access model including Juno Online Services, (which since August 1996 had offered E-mail however, not World Wide Web access at no cost), Spinway launched with Yahoo! and AltaVista, Freei and BlueLight Internet, which was originally owned by Kmart. They claimed to provide free Internet service forever, in exchange for displaying ads, either on a permanent toolbar or over a “banner” which had been shown when online. NetZero sued them for infringing on a banner ad patent. Right after 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 as well as Simpli and RocketCash.
Starting in January 2001, NetZero began charging for access time over 40 hours each month. Users who exceeded 40 hours were forwarded to the company’s “Platinum” service, which provided unlimited access for $9.95 each month. Using the income statement reinvigorated through charging heavier users from the system, NetZero merged featuring its rival Juno Online Services and developed a new holding company, United Online which traded on NASDAQ underneath 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 each month.
NetZero has versions of their proprietary dial-up software for computers running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. NetZero previously offered a Linux version of the NetZero software advertised as being for Linspire, though the software could be installed on any Debian-based i386 or x86-64 Linux distribution; NetZero may also be installed on any RPM-based Linux distribution provided that Alien is used to convert the NetZero Debian package into an RPM package. In addition, the Linux version requires the Java Runtime Environment to become installed prior to utilisation of the NetZero dialer. Nevertheless the current Linux version of the dialer no more functions properly with the service since 2009.