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Netscape launches new small-business service

America Online's Netscape Netcenter Web portal launches a new service, "Netbusiness," which is attempting to become a destination for small businesses on the Web.

America Online's Netscape Netcenter Web portal today launched a new service that attempts to become a destination for small businesses on the Web.

As previously reported, the new Netscape service, dubbed "Netbusiness," is a "personal business Web site where small businesses can find news, tools, services, discounts and expert advice to help run your business," according to the site.

Netscape will be formally announcing the site today at the Internet Commerce Expo in San Jose, Calif.

Netscape joins a number of its competitors--including Microsoft's bCentral and Yahoo Small Business--in trying to tap the market for small-business owners. All of these sites are trying to tap revenues from small-time entrepreneurs looking to the Web to grow their businesses. By doing so, companies are offering a mix of content, tools, e-commerce and Web applications to facilitate the process.

As for Netbusiness, the new site will let people list their businesses in an online yellow pages or create a virtual "name tag" to network with other small businesses around the United States. The site also offers functions such as payroll management, job searches through Monster.com, human resources tips through ADP and Inc.com articles, and domain registration through Network Solutions.

The site will offer AOL applications including a customized version of its Instant Messenger, a Web calendar program, online maps and a travel reservations feature.

And for companies looking to hype their businesses, the site offers public relations tips from DigitalWork.com and custom ad banners from SmartAge.com.

News links on the site will be provided by Reuters, CNN, The Weather Channel, Digital Cities and Yellowbrix, according to the site's information page.

The service will be included in future versions of Netscape's Communicator browser. Office Max will distribute free CD-ROMs containing Communicator software that takes consumers to Netbusiness' registration site.

Netbusiness will be throughout AOL's properties, including Netcenter, CompuServe, ICQ, MapQuest, Digital City and the WorkPlace channel on its online service.

News.com's Cecily Barnes contributed to this report.