NoWonder

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NoWonder was a collaborative internet project to provide volunteer computer support running from the mid-90s into the early 00s. Founded by Scott William in 1996 under the name Ask Appleboy, initially the project was a solo effort, providing support only for Mac OS. By 1997, a team was assembled, and the project provided support for Mac OS, Windows, BeOS, OS/2, and Solaris. By 1998, the Solaris support was changed to UNIX in general, and support also covered HTML. In 1999, the site reached 1000 volunteers.

Nowonder.jpg

Process[edit]

Web users who had problems with any software on their computer submitted a brief description of their problem on a web form, and registered volunteers would browse those and select problems to solve. A dialogue between the users and volunteers would occur (usually via email but occasionally by phone) that would typically solve the problem. For complex problems, occasionally volunteers would escalate the problem to a team leader (another volunteer position that took responsibility for that support area). In 1999, NoWonder began a certification program for its members to ensure quality control and to thank its long-term contributors.

Economics[edit]

Limited advertising on the site helped support the cost of the servers. However, in the end bandwidth and related costs became too high to support the site, and Scott William began experimenting with alternate means of funding. As limited partnerships failed to provide funds for continued growth of popularity of the services, in 1999 Scott sold the company to Full Circle software, which adopted the name as their own and continued to commercialise the service. The ability for volunteers to charge for their services was added to the site, with NoWonder taking a percentage of what was charged, but as many volunteers were opposed to this, many of those offering help for free made an effort to accept questions before those charging would. In June 2000, Anthony Lye, the president of the combined company, renamed it to ePeople, deemphasising the technical support aspect. Most of the volunteers left between 1999 and 2001, and by mid-2002 the support portion of ePeople was removed. In 2005 the IP of ePeople was sold to Rolotex Corporation which is currently developing and supporting ePeople products.

Aftermath[edit]

Scott William later established MacOSX.com which offers similar services, limited to support for Mac OS X.

Some of the former volunteers on NoWonder started the site techsurvivors.net, which continues to provide free tech support.

Re-Introduction[edit]

In July 2006, Scott William reintroduced NoWonder. Although it is in early stages of development, it is usable, and works in an almost identical fashion to macosx.com. Also, macosx.com user names are compatible with NoWonder. In mid-2007 nowonder.com was closed down again and now re.directs to macosx.com.

External links[edit]