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Infoseek adds home pages

Joining the ranks of rivals Yahoo and Lycos, Infoseek becomes the latest portal to add personal home pages to its offerings.

Joining the ranks of rivals Yahoo and Lycos, Infoseek today became the latest portal to add personal home pages to its list of technology and community offerings.

Infoseek's Home Page Center will be powered by interactive community service WebChat Broadcasting System, which Infoseek acquired for $6.7 million in stock nearly two months ago.

The new service will allocate 7 MB of memory to build customized multimedia home pages. The new center also offers Teleporter software, which can copy single files or entire Web sites from other home page services (such as GeoCities, for instance) and transfer them to an Infoseek home page.

Along with the home page center Portalopoly launch, Infoseek also announced it had purchased all the assets of Internet development company 280 for $800,000 in cash. That company develops Meeting Center, a Web-based service that allows users from multiple locations and companies to collaborate on projects using shared workspaces on the Internet.

Infoseek said it acquired 280 to further develop the home page center, but would not comment on specific projects or products under development at 280.

"Infoseek acquired developers of 280 to develop technology for a new, robust, easier-to-use community presence," said an Infoseek spokesman. "We're looking to build features and capabilities for the next generation of the online experience."

Infoseek joins Yahoo and Lycos as the major Web portals to offer personal home pages. In February, Lycos acquired home page community Tripod. Links to GeoCities' home page services are threaded throughout Yahoo in registration profile pages.

Today's launch highlights the various strategies that Web portals have been adopting in hopes of garnering and retaining consumers. Many companies have been trying to increase loyalty by introducing more personalized features to their Internet experience, such as free email or customized news. Observers have noted that community can play a significant role in gaining subscribers.

"Community services give value because they offer strategic and financial advantages, such as increased loyalty and retention, which lowers marketing costs and increases online times," said Derek Brown, an analyst at Volpe Brown Whelan. That "leads to more advertising views and higher probability of making a purchase; and also allows user-generated content, which lowers development costs."

"Use of personal home pages should advance Infoseek's user registration efforts, which should lead ultimately to better advertising targeting capabilities," he added. "And the better the advertising targeting, the higher the they can charge for advertisements."