ClariNet delivered traditional newspaper and magazine content using Usenet newsgroup technology, existing as a proprietary newsgroup hierarchy independent to the Big 8 hierarchies. News was delivered over the internet using NNTP as well as UUCP.
In the late 1980s, the Internet in the United States consisted of a variety of regional hubs connected by the NSFNet. Overtly commercial traffic was not permitted due to the Acceptable Use Policy. Templeton reports convincing Stephen Wolff, director of NSFNet, that a news service sold to universities and research labs on the internet for use in research and education would not violate the AUP, even though it was a for-profit effort.
The initial announcement of a for-profit internet-based business was announced in June 1989  and generated significant controversy with some expressing fear of a destruction of the non-profit culture of the network. The first subscribing customer was Stanford University.
ClariNet began publishing the news of UPI and Newsbytes and other typical newspaper wire sources. It also included material form newspaper syndicates, such as the popular Dave Barry column and the first internet based comic strips, including Dilbert by Scott Adams. The 'Street Price Report' published a database of advertised prices for computer products in magazines, presaging the creation of Comparison shopping websites later in the decade. 
ClariNet was a plaintiff/appellant in the United States Supreme Court case Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union. ClariNet's CEO testified that the Communications Decency Act created a chilling effect for online publishers. The appellants prevailed 9-0 and the decency sections were struck down. 
Science Fiction eBooks
In 1992 ClariNet announced a subscription "all you can read" book service for Science Fiction readers called the "Library of Tomorrow." In 1993, it published, in coordination with the Science Fiction Hugo Awards an E-book anthology containing all the nominees for the 1993 Hugo Award, presented at the 51st World Science Fiction Convention in San Francisco. The anthology also contained all Nebula Award short fiction nominees for that year. With 5 full novels (most still only available in hardcover) ClariNet claimed this was the largest anthology or e-Book of current fiction published under one cover. It also featured a hypertext version of A Fire Upon the Deep, the to-be-Hugo-winning novel by Vernor Vinge. The anthology was available for download over the internet, and on CD-ROM. In particular, it was made available to voters in the Hugo awards to allow them to read the works in time to vote on them for the award. The publication of such a "Hugo Packet" became a common practice in later years. 
- David Coursey, "20 Years Ago Today: Birth of the Dot-Com Era", PC World, June 08, 2009
- Philip Baczewski, "The Internet Unleashed", 1994
- "Live News & Professional Electronic Publications in USENET Format", June 9, 1989
- "news.admin USNET thread", June 1989
- "Laser Printers -- ClariNet Street Price Report", comp.text.desktop USNET October 18, 1991
- "A collection of 24 short articles about companies from the 1997 Inc. 500." Inc. Magazine, October 15, 1997
- "The fastest-growing private companies in America in 1997, arranged alphabetically." Inc. Magazine, October 15, 1997
- Reuters, "Individual Inc. Will Buy ClariNet" Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1997
- UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, Civ. No. 96-963, February 8, 1996
- "CLARINET AFFIDAVIT IN ACLU, ET AL V. RENO", February, 1996
- Tom Easton, "HERE’S SOMETHING NEW: A COLLECTION OF TOM’S E-BOOK REVIEWS!", July 11, 2018
- F. Paul Wilson, "E-Publishing, Part 1: In The Beginning", Information Week, January 19, 2012
- Jason W Ellis, "Hugo and Nebula Anthology 2013, CD-ROM Source for New Project", January 26, 2013
- "Hugo Awards Voter Packets available for download"