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In 1991, the Listserv mailing list system was but a few years old and a new tool for many universities. Two college students at the University of Michigan with a small PC in their dorm room decided to use the new Listserv system offered by the university’s computer center. They started PCBUILD mailing list to chat with their friends about computers. This was 1991 and only the campus computer geeks had any idea how to use computers, let alone use the Internet.

This small group of computer users grew to nearly 50 subscribers by the time they were about to graduate a year later. So, one of the University’s computer staffers decided to continue to run PCBUILD. About a year later, the university decided to no longer offer Listserv mailing list and the owner of PCBUILD decided to move the list to Trenton State College’s Listserver. At Trenton PCBUILD grew to nearly 300 subscribers and experienced the ownership of the mailing list change hands several times. The mailing list also had gained a great deal of prominence in the Listserv system by 1994 and was considered one of the Crown Jewels of the Listserv system of several thousand mailing lists. But, it was still a small group of techno-geeks chatting about a subject of little interest. 

It was in 1995 that PCBUILD began to flounder. The surge of average people with limited computer skills began to swarm onto the Internet, Spamming every available Internet service began and politeness started to fall away with the advent of rampant Flaming by the new internet users. This was the transition period for the Internet from devoted techno-geeks to the average user and PCBUILD mailing list took a great deal of abuse.

The List Owner at the time had become disgruntled and was tired of attempting to stem the problems. A dark time for PCBUILD.

Then, in the fall of 1995, senior people in the Listserv system asked Bob Wright to step in and help cure the problems with PCBUILD. But, quickly the current Owner of PCBUILD decided that he no longer wanted to continue. His struggle had been too much and Bob Wright became the sole owner of PCBUILD mailing list.

During the next six months, PCBUILD was taken in hand by the new owner. Spamming was stopped, Flaming was stopped and the abuse was stemmed. This was only done by culling out nearly 25% of the subscribers, the abusers. Bob at this time moved PCBUILD from Trenton State College to Boise State University in his home town to better gain control of the list processing. During the next few years under Bob’s guidance, PCBUILD grew from about 200 subscribers to over 1,200 subscribers and numerous universities and other schools began to mirror PCBUILD onto their local networks. The readership of PCBUILD grew to over 16,000 people worldwide.

Then, in 1995, Bob Wright took his long time handle on the Internet, NOSPIN and registered it as a domain: NOSPIN.COM.  This is the beginning of the web site:

In 1997, Bob Wright was able to convenience his long time friend, Drew Dunn to join him in owning and managing PCBUILD. Together, they decided to improve upon the service of PCBUILD by adding a new layer of control for the subscribers Full Moderation. Full Moderation meant a great deal of work for Bob and Drew. But, they were able to convenience some of the best of the subscribers on PCBUILD to join them as Moderators and Team NOSPIN was born.

During this time, PCSOFT mailing list was born. PCBUILD had always been a hardware only mailing list and the subscribers constantly ached to ask software questions. PCSOFT mailing list provided the second avenue for subscribers to ask their questions. The growth and success of the two lists brought about the need to move the mailing lists to a faster Listserv server and Dr. Zenhausern invited Bob and Drew to move the lists to St.   John’s University in New York state, on Maelstrom, the fastest Listserv server on the Internet.

The success of the two mailing lists, the advent of Team NOSPIN and the growth of the supporting web site lead to the birth of The NOSPIN Group and it’s becoming a non-profit corporation. Today, The NOSPIN Group is a totally non-profit organization offering the best in tech support for computer users on the Internet.

Today, NOSPIN.COM web site receives nearly 4 million unique visitors a year and PCBUILD has grown to over 2,400 subscribers, with PCSOFT nearly as large.


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