The Betatesters Story

April, 1995 – Global Network Navigator, a.k.a GNN, starts recruiting beta testers for their new Internet-only service. And so it began …

Originally, IRC meetings were a weekly occurance for a period of one or two hours, held on EFnet. Testers gathered to discuss bugs in the current software builds, work-arounds, and general chatter about the service itself. Chat meetings were announced on the GNN newsgroups and normally attended by a core group of people.

August, 1995 – On the Undernet IRC Network, #GNN is born. Founded by users Alphie and MatthewA, a core group of testers soon assembled, and many from that first crowd became the operators of #GNN: SFeeney, MatthewA, Beavis15, AaronLM, Saashy, Tricia, glc, D-In-Tx, PatInTenn and Krusty.

The Early Days – Being associated with AOL brings with it a certain stigma – #GNN was subject to this almost daily, fending off channel floods and CTCP floods in an effort to maintain channel control and help other GNN testers. Dedicated operators maintained their connection for 24 hours+, and shifts were hours long.

The Migration – Eventually the regulars of #GNN migrated to their new and final home, #GNNChat. GNN went public and promptly fell on its face, and was relegated to the realm of defunct ISPs. A newsgroup, alt.gnn.exodus, was created by Penn in an effort to keep former GNN testers in contact with each other.