A business that provides its subscribers with a wide variety of data transmitted over telecommunications lines. Online services provide an infrastructure in which subscribers can communicate with one another, either by exchanging e-mail messages or by participating in online conferences (forums). In addition, the service can connect users with an almost unlimited number of third-party information providers. Subscribers can get up-to-date stock quotes, news stories hot off the wire, articles from many magazines and journals, in fact, almost any information that has been put in electronic form. Of course, accessing all this data carries a price.
The difference between an online service and a bulletin board service is one of scale and profits. Online services provide a variety of information and services, whereas BBS's normally concentrate on a single theme. In addition, BBS's are often operated on a non-profit basis whereas online services are always for profit. Three of the largest online services are America Online, Compuserve and MSN.
Featured Partners Sponsored
- Increase worker productivity, enhance data security, and enjoy greater energy savings. Find out how. Download the “Ultimate Desktop Simplicity Kit” now.»
- Find out which 10 hardware additions will help you maintain excellent service and outstanding security for you and your customers. »
- Server virtualization is growing in popularity, but the technology for securing it lags. To protect your virtual network.»
- Before you implement a private cloud, find out what you need to know about automated delivery, virtual sprawl, and more. »