Netzero bought FreeInet around 1998. FreeInet was the first free national internet company. NetZero was launched in October 1998, founded by Ronald T. Burr (original CEO), Stacy Haitsuka, Marwan Zebian and Harold MacKenzie. NetZero grew to 1,000,000 users in half a year. NetZero’s model was free Internet connection to draw in viewers for highly targeted advertising. The ad serving technology has over nine patents and NetZero was the very 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 founders raised $60 million in venture capital in 4 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 sole ISP to get included in the out-of-box experience (OOBE). In September 1999 NetZero went public on the NASDAQ exchange with all the symbol NZRO. Mark Goldston was hired as CEO, Charles Hilliard was hired as CFO and Ronald Burr took the job of President and Chief Technology Officer. In December 1999, NetZero and NBC Sports consented to a significant deal that could see NetZero replace Prudential Financial since the sponsor for the network’s NBA halftime studio show, titled “NetZero @ The Half”, which gave NetZero a much larger audience for its product.
In late 1999 several other companies begun to copy the netzero message center login free access model including Juno Online Services, (which since August 1996 had offered E-mail however, not World Wide Web access for free), Spinway launched with Yahoo! and AltaVista, Freei and BlueLight Internet, that was originally belonging to Kmart. They claimed to offer free Internet service forever, to acquire displaying ads, either on the permanent toolbar or on the “banner” which had been shown when online. NetZero sued them for infringing on the banner ad patent. Right after the dot-com bust at the begining of 2000, NetZero acquired its competitors as each went bankrupt. Additionally NetZero acquired AimTV which displayed full video quality 30 second ad spots in addition to Simpli and RocketCash.
Starting in January 2001, NetZero began charging for access time over 40 hours each month. Users who exceeded 40 hours were directed to the company’s “Platinum” service, which provided unlimited access for $9.95 monthly. With the income statement reinvigorated through charging heavier users in 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 his or her free company to 10 hours monthly.
NetZero has versions of the 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 for being for Linspire, though the software may be placed on any Debian-based i386 or x86-64 Linux distribution; NetZero can also be set up on any RPM-based Linux distribution so long as Alien can be used to convert the NetZero Debian package into an RPM package. Additionally, the Linux version demands the Java Runtime Environment to become installed before use of the NetZero dialer. However the current Linux version from the dialer will no longer functions properly with the service since 2009.