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
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
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.