In an effort to tap into its mainstream consumer user base by offering a more full-featured, multi-tiered Internet service, Juno Online Services, L.P. today announced the launch of Juno Web, an online access service, and Juno Gold, an upgraded version of the company’s e-mail offering.
Juno, which bills itself as the second largest online service following AOL, said today the move comes in response to feedback from customers looking to add functionality to their existing free e-mail accounts, in addition to gaining access to the Web.
Juno Web, initially available for $19.95 a month for unlimited access, is designed to allow users to connect to the Internet via a standard browser. Users logging on via Juno Web will automatically be sent to its portal site which will offer content and search tools through a co-branding arrangement with Lycos Inc. beginning next week.
“We’re priced slightly below AOL’s flat-rate fee,” said Charles Ardai in a press conference announcing the new service today. “The Juno user is often a novice user, looking at us and AOL, but we’re not looking to start a price war.”
Juno said online connectivity will be provided under arrangements with wholesale network providers including Worldcom, Sprint, Concentric Network, UUNet and others. The company said it has a network of over 1,200 points of presence (POPs) across the country, most of which can handle speeds up to 56K.
Also debuting today for $2.95 per month is the new Juno Gold offering which features upgraded e-mail services that enable users to receive and send attachments such as pictures and spreadsheets. Juno Gold functionality will be incorporated into the Juno Web access service, and users will be able to migrate to the different service levels at any time and retain the same e-mail address.
Juno said it expects to generate revenue by upgrading existing members to the new services, and through targeted advertising displayed in all three services’ interfaces.
“We expect the service to build up primarily through word-of-mouth,” added Ardai. “If we do decide to market the services through traditional media outlets, it will come at the end of the year.”
Juno currently has more than 150 advertisers including, Allstate, American Express, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Citicorp, Chrysler, Delta Airlines, the Ford Motor Company, IBM, Intel, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and Travelers Group.
“Juno’s 5.5 million subscribers represent a community that has taken its first step onto the Internet,” said Ardai. “Now they can ‘graduate’ to using broader Internet services without having to change their e-mail address, learn how to use a new basic interface, or give up Juno’s exceptional reliability and ease of use.”
Ardai said he expects Juno to have about 10 million users by the end of next year.