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August 17, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:12pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Meta Creations Corp, a long-time online content provider on America Online Inc’s internet service, feels it is being unjustly and abruptly thrown off the service it feels it helped to build after having previously enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. Meta has been providing games, chat and forums on AOL for roughly five years and claims to have built a loyal community of more than 80,000 that log onto AOL mainly to play and discuss the strategy game MetaSquares. Before AOL’s introduction of flat-rate pricing last December, Meta says that it received payments from the online service based on the number of player hours its game accrued. Since the pricing change, it became evident that payments would no longer be made and that the relationship would ultimately come to an end. AOL is now more focused on its Premium Games Channel where users pay AOL $1.99 an hour for playing. What upsets Meta is the ugly breakup that took place last week. The company says it was exploring alternative venues for its services and hoped to work out a smooth migration for its users, but instead received a brusque notice from AOL that it was being removed from the service. AOL subscribers who accessed Meta’s area on the service were greeted with a similar notice that the game and forums would be removed by the end of the month. Meta says the manner in which AOL handled the transition was cheap. It says that a contract between with AOL couldn’t be hammered out because – instead of no money changing hands at all – AOL was now demanding yearly fees in the high six figures. For that kind of cash Meta felt it would be better off buying its own servers and putting the content up on its soon-to- be-launched new website at AOL says that the contract between the two was simply up and that the notice posted online was a standard one and that it only aims to provide the best content it can for its members. It obviously feels that Meta’s content doesn’t fit that profile and a spokesperson implied that Meta’s area wasn’t all that popular anyway. It certainly isn’t popular with the ailing AOL if there is no money to be made from it and it could distract players from the premium services.

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