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Investment sites on the move

Online investing is becoming big business. Two sites announce moves: The Motley Fool changes hosts, and Microsoft Investor beefs up editorial content.

The Motley Fool found a new home on the Web, it said today.

And, in a separate announcement, Microsoft announced it is beefing up Microsoft Investor with editorial content from financial journalists and analysts.

The Investor, available through Microsoft Network and free to anyone on the Internet, also announced new relationships with E*TRADE Group Inc. and PC Financial Network.

The Fools, popular providers of investment advice "with attitude," said they are leaving PrimeHost and going to UUNet Technologies, which hosts more than 50,000 business customers, including the The Sci-Fi Channel and Comedy Central, as well as providing dial-up access for MSN.

Usually, when a company decides to switch providers, it does so quietly or, at most, issues a press release. But both UUNet and Motley Fool decided to make a splashier announcement, complete with press calls this morning, clearly leveraging Motley Fool's popularity.

"They are really one of the more unique sites on the Internet today," said Paul Hoffman, manager of Web marketing and development for UUNet. "Motley Fool is going to push us, and in the Internet space being pushed by a customer is a good thing. It forces us to become a better service provider."

As for the Fools, as the people who run the investment service are called, they were looking for a Web service provider that could handle the growth and help them add message boards and chat and beef up their online store, said Dwight Gibbs, who alternately identifies himself as "chief techie geek," and just plain, "fool."

Gibbs stressed that this relationship will have no affect on Motley Fool's relationship with online giant America Online, where Motley Fool has one of the most popular sites.

Although AOL has been pushing its partners to provide exclusive content to its site, Motley Fool clearly is an exception to the rule, especially because AOL is an investor in the site.

"AOL wants to see us succeed everywhere," Gibbs said.