Our Beliefs - 2002

The following statement is the original statement of beliefs that first appeared on our site when NearlyFreeSpeech.NET opened its doors to the public in February, 2002.

We founded NearlyFreeSpeech.NET because we believe that the Internet has entered a new stage in its development.

When the Internet began to be accepted as a mass media phenomenon, pundits everywhere predicted that it would destroy the barriers to entry in publishing, allowing anyone anywhere to publish anything they thought was worth saying. The Internet was lauded as the ultimate force guaranteeing peoples' inalienable right to free speech.

For awhile there, we all bought it. Free web sites exploded onto the scene, offering anyone who had something to say their pick of places to say it. Any topic a person could imagine, someone else cared enough to write about it and publish a web page. Entire online communities were born around sites that catered to interests spanning the bounds of geography.

Almost overnight, the dream died. The advertising model, which most people knew in their hearts would never work, unraveled. The free web providers started to punish the very sites that were the most successful, deleting them or severely restricting access. The bottom dropped out of the "Internet Economy" and company after company folded up and disappeared. Those people who had previously had their choice of venues of expression found themselves crowded into ever more untenable situations as their hard work turned to dust, their very popularity turning them into Internet vagrants, wandering from free site to free site, constantly waiting for the axe to fall. Some sought refuge with expensive premium hosting plans, but not everyone could afford such luxuries.

Today, the pundits predict that the Internet is destined to become just another broadcast medium: a one-way street for the same old mass media giants to spew information into consumers' homes. Once again, freedom of the press would belong to those few who could afford it.

But wait! Bandwidth costs are lower than ever. The surplus computer equipment being auctioned off by failing dot coms at pennies on the dollar is radically more powerful than any web hosting company could ever need. Shouldn't it be possible to build a new web hosting company with a cost structure radically lower than anything ever seen before?

It is.

We are pleased to offer NearlyFreeSpeech.NET, the web hosting provider anyone can afford. So if you have something to say... if you want to print your own press... if you want to create a place where people who share your interests can peaceably assemble... then welcome to the one place where you can still get Free Speech. Nearly.

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET was founded in January 2002. We are a privately funded, closely held corporation focused solely on making a decent living by putting the power to communicate in the hands of as many people as possible.