Moonfruit was launched in January 2000, aiming to "remove technology barriers to web publication and [allow] people to share their passions online". It launched during the dot-com bubble, and was supported entirely by advertisements; when the bubble burst, however, it became a subscription-based service. Later, the company was bought out by its London-based staff. The service is now in its fourth version, and will shortly be joined by a French language version, with further languages to follow. It now offers a free, advert-supported service once again.
Moonfruit is an internet-based service which allows anyone to create a website. Its interface is easy to use for beginners, but it also offers tools for intermediate to advanced users. Many businesses also use the service.
There are 5 levels of service: Free, Lite, Standard, Plus and Max. Each package offers tools such as message boards, jukeboxes, videos, directories, calendars, chat rooms and feedback forms. All use a drag-and-drop style interface called SiteMaker, which allows users template-free control over their websites. SiteMaker was created using Macromedia Flash, and the sites it creates are also Flash based.
The free package is supported by advertising, and has the e-commerce tools disabled. Everything else is enabled. The Lite package is the same as the free, but without fixed advertising. The site does permit inclusion of optional advertising using some Google tools which can potentially generate income for the user.
The other 3 packages have everything enabled and no fixed adverts (but includes Google advertising tools); they are differentiated by their storage space and the number of sites that they enable users to build.
Widgets are tools that can be used to enhance a website by offering more functionality and new styles. All the SiteMaker packages come with a wide selection of widgets, including an Ask.com search engine, editable text boxes, picture galleries, music and video players, feedback forms and PayPal features. Some websites have emerged that offer extra widgets not provided by Moonfruit.