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MindSpring Enterprise
Traded as MSPG
Industry Internet
Fate Merged with Earthlink
Successor EarthLink
Founder Charles Brewer (businessman)
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Key people
Mike McQuary
Services Internet service

MindSpring Enterprise was a major Internet service provider headquartered in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia.[1][2] Founded on February 1, 1994, MindSpring merged with EarthLink on February 4, 2000, with the company retaining the EarthLink name. In 2006, the MindSpring brand was relaunched by EarthLink as a free VoIP service, but was discontinued in early 2008.


MindSpring was founded on February 1, 1994, by Charles Brewer in Atlanta, Georgia. It had only non-paying customers for four months and eight modems. It initially shared facilities and technical staff with Internet Atlanta, another local ISP. In June 1994 it opened for business and took on its first paying customers. By late 1994, MindSpring had obtained investment funding from ITC Holding Company and moved into offices at Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center. It established its first point of presence outside Atlanta in September 1995, and went public on NASDAQ in March 1996 with the ticker symbol MSPG.[3]

Mergers and acquisitions[edit]

MindSpring grew quickly by acquiring other companies. Along the way, it acquired the ISP business of Nando.net in North Carolina, although Nando continued as an online news website. In September 1996 it acquired PSINet retail subscribers. In February 1998 it acquired Internet Direct, Inc. and took over its call center in Phoenix, Arizona. That October it acquired SpryNet and its offices in Seattle, Washington. It also acquired many smaller "mom and pop" ISPs along the way.[3][4]

When it acquired Netcom in February 1999, its subscriber base surpassed 1 million. It announced its first high-speed cable service to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1999 and DSL services to eight cities the following November. In September MindSpring launched its first national advertising campaign.[3]

On September 23, 1999, MindSpring and EarthLink announced a merger of equals that would create a new company under the EarthLink brand based in Atlanta. On February 4, 2000 the merger was completed, creating the second-largest Internet service provider in the world with over three million subscribers. MindSpring's stock symbol MSPG was retired and the new company began trading under ELNK.[3]


MindSpring was known for having a very casual atmosphere, with employees on a first name basis with company executives and no dress code.[4] Employees were encouraged to express themselves in their workplace and were permitted to furnish their workspace with various accessories. It relied on satisfied users and employees to spread the word and bring in new users.[5]

Company culture[edit]

The MindSpring Core Values and Beliefs were known to the employees as the CV&B's. They were read during all company meetings as well as some team meetings. When possible, the CV&B's were used for guidance.

The original CV&B's were thought up by Charles Brewer before he had the idea of MindSpring. He often said that he did not know what type of business he wanted to start, but the list of core values and beliefs would rule whatever it was.

Original Core Values and Beliefs[6]

  • We respect the individual, and believe that individuals who are treated with respect and given responsibility respond by giving their best.
  • We require complete honesty and integrity in everything we do.
  • We make commitments with care, and then live up to them. In all things, we do what we say we are going to do.
  • Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun. Being a good business person does not mean being stuffy and boring.
  • We are frugal. We guard and conserve the company's resources with at least the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.
  • We insist on giving our best effort in everything we undertake. Furthermore, we see a huge difference between "good mistakes" (best effort, bad result) and "bad mistakes" (sloppiness or lack of effort).
  • Clarity in understanding our mission, our goals, and what we expect from each other is critical to our success.
  • We are believers in the Golden Rule. In all our dealings we will strive to be friendly and courteous, as well as fair and compassionate.
  • We feel a sense of urgency on any matters related to our customers. We own problems and we are always responsive. We are customer driven.

After merging with EarthLink, a new CV&B was added: "We love to compete, and we believe that competition brings out the best in us."[7]

The 14 Deadly Sins[edit]

The 14 Deadly Sins were created by Mike McQuary.[8] After the merger with EarthLink, the 14 Deadly Sins were no longer emphasized and were eventually removed from EarthLink's website.

THE 14 DEADLY SINS OF MINDSPRING (or ways that we can be just like everybody else)[8]

  1. Give lousy service- busy signals, disconnects, downtime, and ring no answers.
  2. Rely on outside vendors who let us down.
  3. Make internal procedures easy on us, even if it means negatively affecting or inconveniencing the customer.
  4. Joke about how dumb the customers are.
  5. Finger point at how other departments are not doing their job.
  6. Customers can't get immediate "live" help from sales or support.
  7. Poor coordination across departments.
  8. Show up at a demo, sales call, trade show, or meeting unprepared.
  9. Ignore the competition, they are far inferior to us.
  10. Miss deadlines that we commit to internally and externally.
  11. Make recruiting, hiring, and training a lower priority because we are too busy doing other tasks.
  12. Look for the next job assignment, instead of focusing on the current one.
  13. Office gossip, rumors, and politics.
  14. Rely on dissatisfied customers to be your service monitors.


In April 2006, EarthLink relaunched its free Vling voice communication service under the name MindSpring. The service allows for free text chatting similar to other instant message programs, as well as telephone calls to any SIP-compatible software.[9] This service was discontinued in early 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Home. MindSpring. November 28, 1999. Retrieved on September 7, 2010. "© 1999 MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. 1430 West Peachtree St. NW, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30309"
  2. ^ "MindSpring makes deal for high-speed access." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May 6, 1999. F1. Retrieved on September 7, 2010. "Midtown Atlanta-based MindSpring is one of the largest Internet service providers in the country with 1.2 million subscribers."
  3. ^ a b c d MindSpring Milestones
  4. ^ a b MindSpring: Building an Internet Empire on Traditional Values
  5. ^ http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/22/mindspring.html MindSpring Does a Mind-Flip]
  6. ^ Internet Archive: MindSpring Core Values and Beliefs
  7. ^ Internet Archive: EarthLink Core Values and Beliefs
  8. ^ a b The 14 Deadly Sins of MindSpring
  9. ^ Internet Archive: MindSpring Voice

External links[edit]