Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BPN 1146 The last days of

One of the oldest ISPs in the Netherlands Planet Internet will be phasing out this month and be transformed into KPN Vandaag (Today). The exercise is part of a rebranding strategy of the telecom company KPN. The make-over has been prepared since the beginning of the year and will be definite by August. Technically nothing changes for the Planet subscriber as he/she will maintain the same e-mail address and can use the same access code as well as password.

KPN has been working on its brand strategy.This has lead to the merging of services and brands. Brands as Tiscali and Speedlinq merged into the low-end market brand Telfort. Now Planet and KPN ADSL will merge into KPN Vandaag. So far the telephony brands Simyo, Hi and Ay Yildiz will continue in the market. Also the ISP XS4ALL will remain independent; merging this ISP would create havock, as the ISP has been one of the best, most progressive and the most independent Dutch ISPs.

Planet Internet was one of the first consumer ISPs, but it distinguished itself right from the beginning. The existing services such as Nlnet, XS4ALL, Knoware and Euronet*Internet offered all access to the Internet highway, but did not provide the users with maps. A complete new approach came from Michiel Frackers (see phtograph on the cover of hi book In search for the Holy Grail), a a graduate in communication science. Together with some other students he developed a business plan, which was refined by Maarten van de Biggelaar, the managing director of the publishing company Quote, where Frackers had been an intern.
The service should become a consumer service or even better an online publishing company. The service was new as it offered content, online access and marketing. In other words, consumers would get road maps, passed on by a editorial staff, consisting of cybrarians (a term coined in 1993 by Michel Bauwens, an former BP information manager in Antwerp). Journalists of the first hour were Francisco van Jole and Peter Olsthoorn. Another partner in the venture was KPN, which provide money and telecom facilities. The marketing knowledge came from the magazine publisher Quote and newspaper publisher De Telegraaf. This led to a first month free starter pack in bookshops and newspaper booths.

The service became operational on June 20, 1995. A subscription for six hours was 26,95 Dutch guilders (roughly 13,50 euro) with every additional hour 4,95 Dutch guilder. By October 1995 a country wide telecom network was realised and the service had picked up already more than 14.000 subscribers and was the largest Dutch ISP. On January 1997 Planet Internet merged with World Access into World Access/Planet Internet, starting the consolidation phase and a spade of Internet illerate managers. The publishers Quote and De Telegraaf left as ashareholders as well as many of the employees of the first hour, among which the founder Michiel Frackers.

By 1999 the name was shortened to Planet Internet. The service had 300.000 paying subscribers and by 2002 the number rose to 665.000. They yer 2002 was a year for plans: cooperative projects such as Planet Travel and Planet Money. There were also expansion plans to Great Britain, Germany and Belgium. But all these plans failed.

Over the years Planet Internet lost in importance. The quality of the news service went down, while other better news service were started up. The traffic went down. In 2005 attracted 57 million visitors monthly, while two years later the number went down to 19 million monthly. But the traffic number recoverd a little bit by January 2008 with 22 million visitors.

With the make-over of the branding the names Planet Internet and will be ready for the weblog museum. The service will be remembered for its initial excellence in online journalism.

Blog Posting Number: 1146

Tags: online journalism

No comments: