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The introduction of inexpensive dial-up internet service and the Mosaic web browser offered ease of use and global access that BBS and online systems did not provide, and led to a rapid crash in the market starting in 1994.Over the next year, many of the leading BBS software providers went bankrupt and tens of thousands of BBSes disappeared.Similar functionality was available to most mainframe users, which might be considered a sort of ultra-local BBS when used in this fashion.Commercial systems, expressly intended to offer these features to the public, became available in the late 1970s and formed the online service market that lasted into the 1990s.
Unfortunately, the system was expensive to operate, and when their host machine became unavailable and a new one could not be found, the system closed in January 1975.
External modems were available for these platforms but required the phone to be dialed using a conventional handset, making them unable to accept incoming calls without manual intervention.
Internal modems could be software controlled to perform both outbound and inbound calls, but external modems had only the data pins to communicate with the host system.
Many BBSes also offer on-line games in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other.
Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web, social networks, and other aspects of the Internet.
One particularly influential example was PLATO, which had thousands of users by the late 1970s, many of whom used the messaging and chat room features of the system in the same way that would become common on BBSes.