ZNAIL - for easier living in a virtual world

< The Founding Story >
The adventure of znail all starts back in February 1998. Internet were in the midst of becoming a mass media - moving from a male dominated university tool to an everyday tool for information and entertainment for everyone. It were the days of the browser war (in Denmark MSIE ver 3 was still the most used browser) and the days where the phrase open source was something you suddenly started to read about in the papers.

For Anders Blauenfeldt and Mikkel Stegmann, both students at the technical university of Denmark, the Internet had been a part of their everyday life for many years already. So when getting the assignment of building an online Internet service as a part of a university project, what better criteria to use than to choose something that would help their own everyday life. They were online at the university, online at their jobs, online at home - and they both missed some kind of system where they could be in touch with their growing list of bookmarks no matter where they used an online computer. It seems logic now - but back then there weren't really any systems for doing that - so Anders and Mikkel envisioned that they wanted to build a server based system where one could save bookmarks and then have them accessible at all computers.

And the name was: znail
After a couple of days they added the concept of saving your files online to the list - and with that came the possibility of saving your adress book, your notes etc. The vision was now clear - and all they needed was a name for this new service. A service where one could always be in contact with one's personal bookmarks, files etc - almost like carrying them around on the back .... well, who carries all their belongings on their back ?

The next steps
As a university project, znail was done in summer 1998, and it was at that point Anders and Mikkel realised that this could be turned into something more than just another university project. They had succeeded with what they had been setting out to do and they were already using znail themselves in order to access bookmarks and files from every online computer - so why not try and see if other people would use the service as well. October 1998 the website znail.dk was opened to the public and although the initial response from friends and fellow students had been positive it came as quite a surprise to the founders that hundreds of users were signing up for a znail-account within the first weeks. After a couple of months znail was still just a little more than a hobby project but the numbers of users rose into the thousands and the service was soon getting well known in Denmark.

znail.tv2.dk and znail.com
In 1999 Anders and Mikkel sold the znail concept to TV 2 (the biggest Danish television broadcaster) and the service was relaunched in late 1999 as znail.tv2.dk - now being a part of the online community on tv2.dk. In this process Christian Schmidt joined the znail team and over the next years znail.tv2.dk ran as a popular service. However in 2002 znail.tv2.dk was closed due to a change in strategy for online services at tv2.dk, but meanwhile in early 2001 Anders and Christian had launched an international version of the old znail.dk website at znail.com. Starting from scratch soon thousands of people all over the world started using znail.com and in 2002 a donation system was introduced in order for users to be able to help with the cost of running the system.

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more information

znail was envisioned in early 1998 by Anders Blauenfeldt and Mikkel B. Stegmann. Read more about the people behind znail here.

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