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Free, as it turns out, has many meanings in cyberspace, few of which Noah Webster would recognize or condone.

There are plenty of examples of this phenomenon in action in cyberspace, but few are as glaringly obnoxious as that of INYC, a New York City based company planning to roll out what it calls "free dsl" access later this spring.

Of course, the service isn't actually free, a fact that hasn't slowed the company's marketing department one bit.

Instead offers what could be called "trade-per-view" access.

Users reduce their monthly bill each time they interact with one of the company's sponsors, either by clicking on a link to visit a web site or by making a purchase.

In many ways the program is similar to free dial-up access plans offered by majors like AltaVista and Excite. INYC, however, is the first provider to track user interaction in this way.

If successful, the plan will doubtless attract many imitators in the Free Net access market

In an aggressive effort to promote it's service, INYC is using a similar strategy to reward customers for referrals.

The company says it will provide a free digital modem to each customer who signs up ten new members - a viral advertising approach which has becoming increasingly popular in different incarnations with Net companies over the past two years.

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