Access for nothing?

New service Cyber FreeWay offers free Internet access that costs nothing, except your detailed dossier.

CNET News staff
Cyber FreeWay, a new service that was launched in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, offers free Internet access in return for detailed demographic information about the subscriber.

The information is made available to advertisers so they can target ads to specific subscribers. Cyber FreeWay describes its business model as a parallel to free television: revenues are derived from advertisers, not customers.

There is one difference however. Rather than advertise to everyone, advertisers can target their ads to the customers who match a desired profile.

Advertisements appear in a secondary one-inch-wide window on the right-hand side of the screen whenever the customer logs on. The ads change once a minute while the subscriber is online.

Customers can click on the ad to be connected with the advertiser's Web site. The ad window will work with both Navigator and Explorer.

A similar system was launched in Japan in June and has 135,000 subscribers and 300 advertisers. Cyber FreeWay did not say whether it has plans to expand nationally.

Cyber FreeWay charges a sign-up fee of $29.95. Its software runs on Windows-based computers; a Mac version is planned for mid-February.