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CNET launches online service

The company introduces an Internet starter kit called Snap Online and announces distribution deals with seven ISPs.

CNET (CNWK) wants to make it a snap to get online.

The company today announced the launch of Snap Online, an online service that is built on the open standards of the Net. Set to launch in September, Snap will feature a CD-ROM called the Snap Online starter kit, as well as a Web site as a starting point for the service.

CNET announced distribution deals with seven ISPs, including AT&T WorldNet, MCI Internet, Sprint Internet Passport, BellSouth.Net, EarthLink Network, Concentric Network, and MindSpring. The company said it is in discussions with more than 30 ISPs, brand marketers, and PC makers for further deals.

"Snap Online provides a fully integrated solution for ISPs and other marketers who are focused on bringing customers onto the Internet," said Halsey Minor, chairman and chief executive of CNET: The Computer Network, in a statement. "With Snap Online, we have built a complete consumer offering that, when packaged with simple Internet access, will provide a very compelling option for consumers and a competitive advantage for our distributors."

The starter kit will be distributed either as a CD-ROM or preloaded on computer hard drives. It features multimedia tutorials with information for new Net users, such as how to use email. It also takes users step by step through the ISP registration process.

Snap's Web site is an aggregation service that directs users to content on the Internet and is organized by such channels as news, entertainment, sports, local, travel, money, and health.

The site is updated throughout the day. Snap Online also offers a search function, chat rooms, resources for software downloading, and yellow and white page listings, among other features.

Snap Online is a separate division of CNET: The Computer Network, which provides information on the Internet, computers, and digital technologies. CNET also publishes NEWS.COM.