In 1984, the first cybercafe opened its doors. In the beginning of the next decade, a local entrepreneur in San Francisco, Wayne Gregori, founded SFNet, a BBS style network accessible from coin operated, public access terminals at more than 20 Bay area cafes. More than 100 cafes soon followed. Now, we are on the edge of a new millenium, and there are more than 1000 cybercafes in the world with more opening everyday. The International Association of Cybercafes expects 500 more to open just by the end of this year.
Cybercafes have trained assistants to help customers learn and navigate through the Internet. This is assistance anyone can physically go to, intead of receiving it step by step through a telephone.
This new medium allows people, who do not have the means to access such software, the chance to keep pace with everyone else on the Information Superhighway.
Computer software companies can take advantage of the cybercafe phenomena as a marketing tool. Some companies are already using them to sell their produts at the cafe itself or online. From this, customers are able to see firsthand how the software and hardware work before they make a decision on what to buy.