Could the Usenet Retention War be Nearing an End?

The battle over binary retention started  early last year when several Usenet providers including Giganews, Newshosting, UseNetServer, NewsDemon and Astraweb announced they were increasing binary retention into the 365-400 day ranges.  By late Summer they had all surpassed the year mark and have been continuing to spool ever since.  Now each service has reached 600 days of binary retention.

Could it be that the end of the retention war is nearing?  Earlier this week UseNetServer, Newshosting and others hit the 600 day mark for binary retention.  As we mentioned in our UNS post on Monday.  The 600 mark is a great achievement but it didn’t take us by surprise as each service has been growing retention daily for well over a year.  The surprise came when the increases stopped at 600 days.  Could this mark the end of the battle for UseNetServer, Newshosting and others?  Leaving Giganews and Astraweb to decide the final winner.

Maybe or maybe not.  We have no idea but let’s assume for a moment that Giganews, Astraweb and a handful of others are the only remaining Usenet providers increasing retention daily.  What does it mean for customers and the market as a whole?  Will Giganews and Astraweb reap the benefits?  Will sign ups suffer as the retention gap widens or might they actually increase?

If most providers stop at 600 days what does it mean to customers?

It depends on the user.  Some rarely download content over 200 days old and won’t care.  While others want the maximum number of days available and will choose based on retention levels.  Brings the “more than a mouthful” analogy to mind.

How might it effect the market?

A decision to stop at 600 days would leave Giganews, Astraweb and a handful of others to battle it out.  At $11 a month, Astraweb could have a hard time keeping pace with Giganews.  Not only in storage cost but in providing stable, reliabile service.  If they can pull it off though it would be a big win for them

Will Giganews and Astraweb reap the benefits?

Short term we think both services will see an increase in sign ups if the binary retention gap widens.  Over the long term it depends on price and reliability.  Given the price of Giganews accounts along with their history of high retention, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them spool well past the competition.  Along with adding more value through services like VyprVPN.

Will sign ups suffer if the retention gap widens or might they actually increase?

We need the crystal ball for this one.  Initially we suspect sign ups could suffer if the retention gap windens.  In three months if Astraweb is offering relioable service with 700 days of retention for $11 a month they could certainly benefit.  However, if service levels drop or Astraweb increases prices users could start migrating to UseNetServer who offers reliable service for $10 a month.

We’ll just have to wait and see how everything shakes out.  It will certainly make the next few months more interesting.



Giganews retention:  631 days
Astraweb retention:  621 days
Newshosting retention: 600 days
UseNetServer retention: 600 days

Giganews – unlimited Usenet + VyprVPN
UseNetServer – $10 unlimited Usenet
Astraweb – $11 unlimited Usenet