Delphi (online service)

Delphi Forums is an US online services provider and since the mid 1990s has-been a community web forum site. It started as a national dialup service in 1983. Delphi Forums remains active as of 2016, claiming 4 million registered members and “more than 8,000 active forums” in 2013. [1]


The company that became Delphi was founded by Wes Kussmaul as Kussmaul Encyclopedia in 1981, featured ASCII -based encyclopedia, E-mail , and a primitive cat. Newswires, bulletin boards and better cat were added in early 1982.

Kussmaul recalled:

Delphi was actually launched in October 1981, at Jerry Milden’s Northeast Computer Show, as the Kussmaul Encyclopedia – the world’s first commercially available computerized encyclopedia. (Frank Greenagle’s Edge Encyclopedia was announced at the same time, but you could not buy it.) The Kussmaul Encyclopedia was actually a complete home computer system (your choice of Tandy Color Computer or Apple II) with a 300- bps modem that dialed up to a VAX computer hosting our online encyclopedia database. We sold the system for the same price and terms as Britannica. People wandered around in it and were impressed with the ease with which they could find information.[2]

In November 1982 Wes hired Glenn McIntyre as a software engineer. Glenn brought in colleagues Kip Bryan and Dan Bruns. Kip wrote the software that became Delphi Conference and Delphi Forums. Dan, (another very strong software person) upon finishing his MBA at Harvard, becoming President and later CEO when Wes moved to Global Villages.

On March 15, 1983, the Delphi name was first used by General Videotex Corporation. Forums were text-based, and accessed via Telenet , Sprintnet , Tymnet , Uninet, and Datapac ( Canada ).

Delphi was extended to Argentina in 1985, through a partnership with the Argentine IT company Siscotel SA [3]

Delphi partnered with ASCII Corp. of Japan to open online services in 1991.

Delphi provided with the Internet in 1992. Features included E-mail (July 1992), FTP , Telnet , Usenet , text-based Web access (November 1992), MUDs , Finger , and Gopher . “To a lot of people at the time, we have an enviable position,” says Dan Bruns, Delphi’s CEO. “But we did not have a lot of financing to fuel our growth …” [4]

In 1993 Delphi Was sold to Rupert Murdoch ‘s News Corporation . News Corporation recognized that there would be growth in the use of the Internet and attempted to use Delphi as its vehicle. It had 125,000 text-based customers in 1995 and had 150 employees. [5] Murdoch hired away IBM’s director of high-performance computing and communications, Alan Baratz, in 1994 to run Delphi. Brown and General Manager Rusty Williams stayed on. Delphi peaked with 500,000 paid subscribers and about 600 employees. [4]

By 1995, Delphi had lost many of its subscribers, and Bruns left Delphi. In 1996, Delphi’s NewsCorp decided to exit Delphi’s Delphi business. Dan Brown and some of Delphi’s original investors Delphi from NewsCorp for an undisclosed amount. With only 50,000 paying subscribers left, Delphi has been back to its pre-NewsCorp size. “We were on the same growth slope, but this time we were going down there,” he says. “It felt a little poetic.” [4]

In 1996, Delphi launched a free, ad-supported managed-content website with associated message boards and chat rooms , under the management of a team led by Dan Bruns and which included Bill Louden, who had headed GEnieduring its heyday. For a period of time, both text-based and web-based community services were available. After a year as a managed content site, Delphi reinvented itself as a community-driven service.

Prospero Technologies was formed in January 2000 as the merger of Delphi Forums and Wellengaged. Webpages for forums were discontinued.

In 2001, Rob Brazell purchased Delphi Forums, merged it with eHow and Idea Exchange, and formed Blue Frogg Enterprises. The domain was sold to the Delphi Corporation , the auto parts manufacturer. Prospero partnered with Inforonics .

In 2002, Prospero reacquired Delphi Forums, joining it with Talk City to form Delphi Forums LLC.

In 2008, online community developer Mzinga acquired Littleton-based Prospero Technologies LLC, which was then owned by Bruce Buckland, chairman and CEO of Mallory Ventures. [6] In March 2009, Forrester Research analyst Reported one Twitter That Was Mzinga HAVING financial Difficulties after-It Had completed a second round of layoffs. [7] On September 1, 2011, Mzinga sold Delphifors back to early owner Dan Bruns.

In February 2013, Delphi Forums celebrated its 30th anniversary. Delphi owner Dan Bruns said “It’s true that the Delphi that launched in 1983 was very different from today’s internet,” Bruns said, “but one thing remains the same: Delphi forums provide a friendly, comfortable setting for people to share common interests If we keep that simple truth in mind, we have a terrific legacy to build on going forward. ” [8]

During 2014, Delphi Forums began a beta test of a new software forum, called Zeta Delphi. The current long-time format, now called Classic Delphi, also remains, and hosts may use software. [9]

Delphi Wednesday science fiction group

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Delphi had a regular Wednesday night chat group (long before IRC and other chat programs became mainstream). Frequent attendees in this group include several professional science fiction writers, including Susan Casper, Pat Cadigan , Mike Resnick , Michael A. Banks , Jack L. Chalker , Lawrence Watt-Evans , Gardner Dozois , Janet Kagen , Lawrence Person , Martha Soukup , Barbara Delaplace and Orson Scott Card among others.

Delphi’s forums

Delphi Forums are divided into categories:

  • Business & Finance Forums dealing with business, investing, personal finance, and career issues.
  • Civic & Government Forums focused on civic and government organizations, law enforcement, scouting, and public employee unions
  • Companies Forums focused on companies and workplaces, as well as certain businesses or products
  • Computers Forums dealing with computers, operating systems, software, coding, PC gaming, and vintage computers
  • Creative Arts Forums covering everything from graphic design to music to literature. Many of these forums are focused on message board signatures and forum themes.
  • Current Events Current events forums: Far left to right and everything in between
  • Education & Alumni Mostly forums for people who went to school together, but these forums also cover adult education, homeschooling, history and languages
  • Entertainment forums covering music, movies, television and books along with communities where people gather for fellowship and fun
  • Family & Parenting Forums
  • Games Forums discussing every kind of games from board games to role playing games to fantasy sports to trivia
  • Health & Wellness Forums for people to connect with others
  • Hobbies & Crafts Forums covering hobbies and interests from collecting to quilting to robotics to woodworking
  • Home Life Forums covering everything you do in and around the home, including cooking, pets, gardening, and more
  • Internet & Web Forums discussing everything you do online, including Web browsers, message board signatures, email, network security, social networking, HTML, and more
  • Lifestyles These forums cover, gay, lesbian issues
  • Motorcycles Forums for motorcycle hobbyists and riders (new category added in 2013)
  • Motor Transport Forums discussing cars and anything with a motor (except motorcycles)
  • Religion & Spirituality Forums discussing traditional religions, spirituality, atheism, and spiritual beliefs
  • Science & Space From astronomy to extraterrestrials, from hard science to the supernatural, these forums
  • Sports & Recreation Forums covering traditional sports, auto racing, horses, college and high school sports, shooting sports and more
  • Support & Recovery Forums where people connect with others, life situations or hardships
  • Talk City Chat Forums focused on real-time chat
  • Taste & Trends Forums focused on fashion, beauty, food, and popular culture
  • Travel & Places Forums focused on a certain place – whether it’s for people who live in that place, or those that visit

Popular forums

Some of Delphi’s present forums date back to the early 1990s and remain popular today. Amongst those forums:

  • The Stamp Collecting Forum:
  • Personal Law, News and Consumer Forum, run by East Point, Judge Georgia and attorney Glen Ashman : :
  • Politics: The Bully Pulpit:
  • The Baby Boomers:

Additional sources

  • Delphi Forums History Project
  • Boston Globe: Zitner, Aaron May 04, 1995 Delphi will move to NY, Lowell
  • NewsCorp moves Delphi staff to Crosspoint Building in Lowell


  1. Jump up^ “Delphi Forums” . Delphi Forums . Archived from the original on 14 April 2006 . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .
  2. Jump up^ Kussmaul, Wes. Own Your Privacy. PKI Press, 2007
  3. Jump up^
  4. ^ Jump up to:c “They Coulda Been Contenders Once upon a time, Delphi Was fighting it out with AOL Then along Rupert cam – November 1, 1999..” . . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .
  5. Jump up^ “Tenants, acreage added to train Wang Towers” . . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .
  6. Jump up^ “ZoomInfo Cached Page” . . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .
  7. Jump up^ “Downsizing Social, the Boston Globe, March 29, 2009”
  8. Jump up^ “Delphi Forums Celebrates 30 Years” . Delphi Forums . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .
  9. Jump up^ “1/15 Release Notes” . Delphi Forums . Retrieved 16 February 2015 .

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