For years, close to twenty, actually, I’ve had an auxiliary email account which used to be my main email that was an @prodigy.net email. Many years ago, 1994ish, I was part of Prodigy, the online service that, much like AOL, had everything self contained. It had bulletin boards (I was a member of the KISS Board, it was my main one), weather, shopping and a Sabre booking system. As a matter of fact, I booked my first ever air ticket, to Orlando, of course, from that service. I spent a lot of time listening to that handshake sound running over that 14.4k modem signal. I had a @prodigy.com email at that time. I believe that was my first ever email. There was a “web browser” available to us users but it was kind of rough. Websites weren’t very popular or abundant at the time, anyway. But, you couldn’t play Quake on it because it wasn’t a true ISP.
In 1996 or so, Prodigy started their very own ISP and I was part of that. $15.95 a month, I believe. They kept the self-contained service for a bit, calling it Prodigy Classic, but most everyone was ported to Prodigy Internet and its email domain, @prodigy.net, to differentiate that this was actually an ISP and not just a networked community. Prodigy Classic was phased out in 1999, due to “incompatibility to Y2K,” (I was one of the 209k subscribers that was still left when it went dark) and we were able to move about freely with the “net.” I used dial up for a good bit until I grew into the broadband/cable world and Prodigy Internet was my vessel.
Once I had moved on to broadband, I had gained a lot of use for and of the @prodigy.net address so when I moved over, I continued to pay for the Prodigy Internet dial-up service to keep the address. Eventually Prodigy was purchased by SBC in 2001. SBC also formed a “strategic alliance” with Yahoo not long after that. When that happened they stopped allowing new Prodigy accounts and put people over to Yahoo instead. We were allowed to keep our Prodigy email address. Then, eventually, SBC purchased AT&T and our beloved address was held under the AT&T brand.
Eventually, I think my credit card had been declined or something and from what I remember I just left it at that. However, my email address was still working. I figured all was in the clear. About a year ago, I was going over the company’s (that’s my ‘Rents’ company) credit card and there was a charge for $29.95 to AT&T Internet Services and I called AT&T to figure out what it was. NO ONE was able to figure out what it was for. I complained to AmEx and eventually (after a year) they acquiesced my request to put a block on that charge. We had canceled all services with AT&T at that point and since no one could tell me what it was, we put a block on it. Well, you get three guesses as to what that charge was really for and the first two don’t count. Yep, it was for my “AT&T Dial Up” service. Somewhere along the line I had added that CC to take care of it.
Well, things being what they are now, I can’t afford it any longer and almost 20 years later (I’m counting the Prodigy Classic time, too), I’m having to give up my @prodigy.net address. Everything that requires a subscription over the years, this has been my go to. I’m sick to my stomach, too. I know that’s silly but I have been very, very proud of my longevity and it’s almost like a loss of a pet or something. Almost. Still, Dear Reader, I’m sad, but I’ve already made another @yahoo.com address to replace that for my subs and such.
I feel, too, like I’m turning my back on an old friend. I was once part of AOL and that was okay (it was a better service really), but it didn’t have the charm of Prodigy. I stayed true to it. I still miss the time in the old KISS boards, really. Those were awesome times. I’m sighing and I’m moving on.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“The Internet will win because it is relentless. Like a cannibal, it even turns on it own. Though early portals like Prodigy and AOL once benefited from their first-mover status, competitors surpassed them as technology and consumer preferences changed.”