Ah, history. CompuServe was the first major commercial online service in the United States. It charged hourly rates, and those rates were expensive. You might spend $79 dollars a month, now, to get gigabits of always-on internet access, at the top. Back in the day, you could burn through $79 in a single evening, chatting on the CB at 300 Baud thanks to your handy-dandy accoustic modem.
BTW, that Smartmodem 1200 was $699, back in the day when it was first introduced. That'd be about what? $1500 now? I bought mine a little later, and it was only $399. Still--wow. Expensive.
UPDATE: I decided to check this using The Inflation Calculator. What cost $699 in 1981 would cost someone $1635.20 in 2008 dollars. So, there ya go.
CompuServe hung-on. My very first internet access was through Compuserve, using their PPP service to establish my Internet connection. My, how things have changed. And now, Compuserve is on the way out. Goodbye, CIS! We shall miss you.
Anyone else remember Apple's eWorld? I gotta do a post on that, sometime.