The following letter was in my AOL mailbox this morning:

From:	listown@mail.gnn.com
Sender:	gnn-announce@mail.gnn.com
Reply-to:	listown@mail.gnn.com
To:	gnn-announce@mail.gnn.com (Multiple recipients of list)
A Letter to Our Subscribers

By now, many of you may have heard that we recently made a decision to
sell GNN to America Online's Internet Services Company, and to form a
new company in partnership with them, called Songline Studios, that
will be a creative studio for the design and development of innovative
online applications, inventing new forms as well as developing
original content on the Internet.

As you can imagine, this was a momentous decision for us. We are 
very proud of what we've created in GNN; we feel it is one of the
pre-eminent online guides to what's up on the Internet, and a
prototype for a kind of navigational framework that will become
increasingly important as the number of servers on the Internet
continues to grow.

At the same time, we came to feel that in order to really do justice
to the information problem GNN was created to solve, GNN would have to
be scaled up beyond our ability to fund it on our own. With many
large players entering the Internet information services market, the
best way to keep our lead was to team up with one of them.

We talked with a lot of possible partners. Why did we choose AOL? At
bottom, many of the large players are entering the Internet market
reluctantly, for fear that if they don't move, they'll get left
behind. At worst, they are trying to "co opt" the Internet enthusiasm
and divert it into a proprietary service that they can control. In
our estimation, AOL shares our enthusiasm for the truly amazing
possibilities represented by the Internet. They are eager to continue
the work we began with GNN, of creating businesses and business models
that don't try to control or limit the freewheeling nature of the
Internet, but instead build on it.

We're very excited about the possibilities going forward. We'll be
creating new online publications that will be hosted within the GNN
framework, as well as on other Internet services. We believe that
we'll be able to make these new publications even more widely
accessible and useful because of AOL's ability to fund a broader
online publishing infrastructure that hosts not only our new
publications but those of many other new Internet publishers. And
that, in essence, has been the GNN dream all along.

Tim O'Reilly and the GNN team

My reply:

Tim and the GNN Team:

As a relative newbie to the Web, and also one who is now staking out his own
 piece of territory on the Web, I have mixed feelings about your new
 association.  I can see that you could not refuse the infusion of capital into
 your organization.  I also understand that the major players are trying to gain
 large chunks of the Web in the competitive spirit.

However, what is occurring on the 'net is contrary to the freedom of expression.
  First, large corporations move into an area of enterprise.  What follows is
 lobbying by those same corporations in D.C. to pass legislation to control that
 area of enterprise.  Who loses?  You and me.

I have admired your organization, a small company who has done quite well with
 your quality services and products, and I hope you do well in your new
 enterprises.  But every once in a while take a good, hard look at who
 you just crawled into bed with.

Tom Most (within spittin' distance of Sebastapol)
Sonoma County Online:  http://www.wco.com/~themost/

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