Binverse USENET Account Review

Perhaps showing my age, I was so engrained in USENET since nearly the very beginning of the service in the early 80’s that I stayed using it long after most folks had moved to web forums. That was until around 2003 or 2004, when I found that splitting my time between dwindling USENET activity and climbing web activity was just too much. Yet even then I still lamented the loss – it was (and still is) incredibly inefficient to seek information about a given subject sprawled across dozens of websites and blogs when a single – or few – USENET groups used to contain loads of experts on the subject.

For example, I am a huge PC RPG fan, and so I would spend too much time on COMP.SYS.IBM.PC.GAMES.RPG. Then suddenly I was looking at RPGDot, GameBanshee,, RPGamer, and on and on. But over time the shift was inevitable.

Of course, since then much has changed in the USENET world – while Google Groups fully integrated everything related to general discussions by 2006 and pretty much killed off the traditional threaded USENET, it also dropped support for files. So gone too was the ability to preview new Newton or Psion apps by having authors put files into the appropriate group. Gone also was the burgeoning sea of ‘other’ material, much of which the copyright holders would rather not be available without paying.

The last time I looked at USENET services was when our ISP stopped hosting them and I wasn’t ready to stop using them yet, and found that amongst all the available Usenet services there was a broad range available with a huge range of groups and posting dates retained on the servers.

The kind folks at Binverse have provided me with an account to test out their USENET service – and better still, have provided 5 other accounts as part of a giveaway! More details at the end – now let’s take a look at Binverse:

The Hype:

Here is a snippet from the Binverse ‘What Is Usenet’ guide about how their service relates to Usenet:

How to Use Usenet
In order to use Usenet, you must have the following:
– Usenet server access from a Usenet provider
– Usenet client software to read messages
– Usenet search tool to search the newsgroups

Usually, you would have to purchase each piece of your Usenet setup separately. However, with the Binverse free Usenet trial you get everything you need plus secure, unlimited and uncensored access at blazing fast speeds.

Binverse and Usenet
1. Binverse provides access to multiple Usenet super clusters to deliver speed and reliability not possible through any single Usenet cluster. We call this mutli-homed Usenet access and it is a great value to Binverse customers.

2. The Binverse software and search engine makes downloading from Usenet super easy. Simply search, download and enjoy. Binverse helps you take the complication out of Usenet downloads. Find out more by visiting Inside Binverse.

The Reality:

Binverse provides a fairly comprehensive ‘What Is Usenet’ guide on their site. Here is the main part:

What Is Usenet?
Usenet is a worldwide network of commercial grade servers where members post and download files and messages to more than 100,000 themed discussion groups called “newsgroups”.

Unlike peer based systems, Usenet is powered by commercial news servers connected through multi-gigabit Internet connections letting you to download as fast as your Internet connection will allow.

When a user uploads a new post it is shared with every other Usenet server. The result being that each server in the network has the exact same messages.

You are never required to upload files or make your computer available to other members. You simply log on to the Usenet servers, download or post what you want and log off.

Unlike a web forum, Usenet has no central server or administrator.

History of Usenet News
Usenet was developed in 1979 by two graduate students looking for a new way to communicate via the Internet. That makes Usenet more than 11 years older than the World Wide Web!

In addition to communicating through text based messages, members quickly learned how to incorporate special encoding algorithms to enable files called binaries to be posted as a newsgroup message.

This encoding allows members to post or download their own pictures, videos, or any other type of file.

Even looking at the description makes Usenet sound rather arcane, yet until the ‘Web 2.0’ style blogs similar to Gear Diary with comments tied to specific content, even website discussions spawned by articles resulted in a forum ‘thread’. Every site had a forum that was generally linked to the ‘front page’ articles, and in that forum there would be categories based on content. Discussion forums remain popular for specific types of content from RPG games to netbooks to quilting and more.

As mentioned, Binverse has a solution that provides a robust Usenet service, excellent group and thread retention, and a Mac and PC client. This combination allows you to do pretty much anything you want with Usenet groups – though too often what it done is rather questionable. As an example, simply searching ‘RPG’ using the Binverse software gives these results:

Looking at that list you see the breadth of Usenet – there are PSP games that are clearly not intended for public distribution, as well as Android games that ARE freely available. There are out-of-print classic games and some discussions. While as a Usenet mirror server Binverse is NOT responsible for the content of the groups, it is worth knowing that much of what happens on Usenet is easily classified as ‘copyright infringement’.

But while the Binverse client seems focused on the massive array of binary files on Usenet, it also provides access to text-based discussions. For me this aspect was rather disappointing, since all that is provided is a window that runs Google Groups in a frame as shown below:

As you can see, it is functional, but … provides nothing that wouldn’t be handled better through a normal web browser connection to Google Groups. But as I mentioned, Google Groups Usenet interface leaves much to be desired, chunking things down in a way to make them fit the typical Google search paradigm – but not useful for threaded discussions.

Fortunately, Binverse doesn’t force you to use their software! With your account you can use whatever client you want and configure it manually to utilize the speedy Binverse servers. I checked out Unison by Panic software, an excellent Mac Usenet client. Within minutes I had configured the client, downloaded all groups and started checking out some of my old haunts!

To see how threaded discussions USED to look, check out the screen below:

I immediately noticed that there were tons of groups, loads of articles, and an excellent sense of history preserved. Unison provides an interface that is at once familiar to a classic Usenet user and also thoroughly modern. I could quickly search for groups, add them to my preferred list, and the software would work to update the threaded discussions.

The reason I focus on Unison is that while it is nice software, it is ultimately a front-end. And while I had little desire to root around in the binaries offered up by the search engine of Binverse, the ability to use that powerful service to quickly work through the long history of RPG or Psion discussions is invaluable.

Binverse provides a comprehensive and robust means of utilizing Usenet resources for whatever reason you might have – discussions, research, binary files, and so on. With a massive list of groups, excellent long-term article retention and high-speed and high-availability service, it is bound to meet your needs!

Review: Binverse USENET Full Service Accounts

Where to Buy:

Price: $29.98 for one month, or $16.65 per month (one $99.90 payment) for six months

What I Like: Very fast connections; loads of groups; excellent retention; allows account use in any Usenet software

What Needs Improvement: Way too much USENET is a festering swamp of piracy and copyright infringement; Binverse software ‘Text’ implementation is

Source: Binverse provided me a review account to use for the review


THE GIVEAWAY I mentioned this at the top, but Binverse has provided FIVE accounts with a 50GB account usage that never expires!

How to win? Enter a comment below, and on next Sunday November 13th at 5PM I will choose 5 random comments as winners! So leave your comment and good luck!

Categories: News, Reviews

24 replies

  1. Good review of usenet and this product !

  2. Ahhh, Usenet, amazing how consuming information has become so different. This was the way to learn/ask/help.

  3. I haven’t used Usenet for a while but your review whetted my appetite to go back and look.

  4. I remember the days myself – going to microsoft.public.* in order to get decent support for the various MS products we supported.

  5. Yes, Usenet is a festering swamp of piracy / copyright infringement and general intellectual property lawlessness that will increasingly draw content owners to seek law enforcement involvement of the most flagrant abusers, but it is also provides the infrastructure for a great deal of useful original free content (as in both “free beer” AND “free speech / thought”…) that keeps the spirit of the original non-commercial internet alive, gives access to all manner of digital resources / archives as well as providing remarkable “community support” for those who’ve learned to sort the “good” from the dross…

    Providers that continue to invest in Usenet should lauded for serving up the kind of “niche interest” items that the internet was once almost exclusively used for.

  6. Love Usenet, hope I win. 😀

  7. Thanks for the review and thorough and the chance to be in the giveaway

  8. The old Usenet became a very modern tool indeed… Thanks for this review

  9. Wow, great giveaway. Count me in

  10. I can recall using USENET way back before I even owned a computer myself.  I was house sitting for someone who had one, and got a chance to play with it a bit then.  I don’t think I’ve used it since, but it would be fun to have a “new” aspect to searching for discussions and things of interest to me.  

  11. Very nice review and thanks for giveaway

  12. It’s been quite a while since I used Usenet, but it was extremely useful for many years.  It’s too bad that most of the large ISP’s that still carried Usenet dropped it under pressure from Andrew Cuomo when he was New York State Attorney General.

  13. a nice review in lucid terms. Very good software and hope I will win one of the licenses. Pl count me in.

  14. Welcome to! Are there any AOL users I can flame for old times sake? 😉 You can plonk me if you like (or killfile).

    Hm, maybe I can use my old Xnews reader, but good lord it was a truly different world downloading “xyz.file (part 1 of 25)”…And no image preview when downloading images on such a text-based system. Oh, and maybe I should find the 5.25” disk where yEnc is located.  That or uuencode for us older folk. :)

  15. Hope I win.

  16. Thanks for this nice contest. Please count me in. Usenet is amazing way to get info’s and download apps. Hope to win the license.

  17. My old love brought back to life. I too have grown a bit long in the tooth when it comes to Usenet. I still have both a hard copy and a pdf of all the newsgroups I was a member of dating back the the 1980’s, several of which helped me earn my degrees (2 B.S. and 1 Masters). Please count me in on this giveaway and maybe the newsgroups can help me with my Ph.D come spring.

  18. If I win, this would be a first for me, never got around to trying Usenet 😉 .

  19. Nice review of Usenet,Count me in…

  20. thanks a lot for the giveaway! I have really been waiting for this offer. Great! Review is also long but really informative and helpful. Thanks! :)

  21. With Binverse Usenet you have everything
    needs as well as secure access and unlimited, uncensored and super fast speeds.

  22. Haven’t been on Usenet since my university days.  I’d love to be entered into the draw.  Thank you.

  23. Usenet seems like a great alternative compared to other methods. 

  24. A Premium Binverse Usenet Account would be awesome for fast downloading of preferred files over a secure 256-bit SSL connection also privacy is assured since no logs are kept.

    Best Regards