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Delphi was an early U.S. online service provider that started as a nationwide dialup service in 1983.

Delphi logo from 1997



The company that became Delphi was founded by Wes Kussmaul as Kussmaul Encyclopedia in 1981, featured ASCII-based encyclopedia, E-mail, and a primitive chat. Newswires, bulletin boards and better chat were added in early 1982.

In March 15, 1983, the Delphi name was first used by General Videotex Corporation. Forums were text-based, and accessed via Telenet, Sprintnet, Tymnet, Uninet, and Datapac (Canada).

Delphi partnered with ASCII Corp. of Japan to open online services in 1991.

Delphi provided national consumer access to the Internet in 1992. Features included E-mail (July 1992), FTP, Telnet, Usenet, text-based Web access (November 1992), MUDs, Finger, and Gopher.

In 1993 Delphi was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. It had 125,000 text-based customers in 1995, but by 1996 was down to less than 5,000 by some accounts, 50,000 by others.

In 1996, NewsCorp sold Delphi Internet to a group of investors that included some of its original principals. It launched a free, ad-supported managed-content website with associated message boards and chat rooms, under the management of a team led by Dan Bruns and which included Bill Louden, who had headed GEnie during its heyday. For a period of time, both text-based and web-based community services were available. After a year as a managed content site, Delphi reinvented itself as a community-driven service that allowed anyone to create an online community.

Prospero Technologies was formed in January 2000 as the merger of Delphi Forums and Wellengaged. Webpages for forums were discontinued.

In 2001, Rob Brazell purchased Delphi Forums, merged it with eHow and Idea Exchange, and formed Blue Frogg Enterprises. The domain was sold to Delphi Corporation, the auto parts manufacturer. Prospero partnered with Inforonics.

In 2002, Prospero reacquired Delphi Forums, joining it with Talk City to form Delphi Forums LLC.

Delphi Wednesday Science Fiction Group

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Delphi had a regular Wednesday night chat group (long before IRC and other chat programs became mainstream). Frequent attendees in this group included several professional science fiction writers, including Susan Casper, Pat Cadigan, Mike Resnick, Michael A. Banks, Jack L. Chalker, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Gardner Dozois, Lawrence Person, Martha Soukup, and Barbara Delaplace, among others.


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