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LineOne leaves users in dark about going free

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The MD of LineOne has cast doubt on whether the online service will scrap its monthly fee and join the growing band of subscription free services. In an e-mail to its existing 80,000 or so subscribers earlier this week, Andrew Burke said: "You may have read in the press lately about LineOne going free. "We are currently evaluating the options available to us, and I guarantee that I will get back to you within two weeks to give you a full update and a definitive pricing policy. I would personally like to reassure you that we are continuing to strive to be the best value-for-money online service and that our decisions are being made for the benefit of our customers." His comments contradict reports earlier this month that LineOne was intending to scrap its £9.99 subscription fee in response to growing pressure from the subscription-free services. Yet, LineOne adverts placed with Computer Active, Computer Buyer and .net magazines are giving users the opportunity to sign up to the service "free for life." And operators on LineOne's helpdesk told The Register that the free service would be introduced officially next week. A LineOne representative admitted that it was "a bit of a muddle" but refused to shine any light on Burke's statement that would help clarify the situation. An attempt to delay the publication of the story by saying that there would be a "major announcement" on Monday when "all would be revealed" was later revealed to be nothing more than a diversionary tactic. So, what is going on at LineOne? Is this unforced goof a sign of just how tense things are at LineOne as it struggles to stem the haemorrhage of lost subscribers? According to earlier reports, LineOne has already sacked its billing department and has been told to double its membership before the summer or face closure. ®

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