UPDATE – The dotNow web site is no longer available. It appears that dotNow has closed down for good.

UPDATE – The Iowa Attorney General has sued DotNow. Read more about it from the Iowa Attorney General.

dotNow has many problems. Its service can be extremely unreliable, especially recently. Also, it is virtually impossible to reach dotNow via customer support or other email addresses. Lately, their POP3 email has not been working and even their website is often unavailable.

Another major problem is that they started charging a $19.95 setup fee that you must pay for with a credit card. Several users have reported that they paid the signup fee, yet still were unable to download the software or contact dotNow regarding this problem. Others have sent in a check, and never received the dotNow setup disc that they ordered. In addition, several users have complained of being charged multiple times, yet the service still would not work.

There are many other fees and limitations associated with the dotNow “free” Internet service including required 5 cents/min long-distance, required 1 survey per month, larger navigation bar with continual ads, and distributed computing participation. In addition there is a fee of $4.95 per support incident, if you call in for tech support.

Lately the online registration form has often been broken so it isn’t even possible to register. It asks you to leave your email address so a representative can contact you, but so far it seems that nobody who has left their email address has even been contacted.

Also, their banner ad bar is large and is not freely moveable. It can only be docked at the top or bottom of the screen.

Recently dotNow added an automatic update feature. Other free ISPs already had this feature and it was really needed for dotNow because they didn’t always notify users when a software update is required. Therefore, dotnow would suddenly stop working and you’d need to log in through another ISP in order to download the newest software version. This auto update feature should eliminate this problem.

One good thing about dotNow is that there are no monthly time limits. Another benefit used to be its large number of local dialup access numbers (mainly in the USA, but also a few in South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand), but recently they have drastically cut the number of dial up access numbers available.