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Netscape debuts program to increase traffic

The company will allow Web sites to add live content such as headlines and e-commerce updates to personalized "My Netscape" pages.

Netscape is launching a program that lets Web sites add live content to personalized "My Netscape" pages.

My Netscape Network, an offering of Netscape Communications' Netcenter portal, creates a small box to which sites can push constantly updated content to a file that individual My Netscape users can add to their personalized start pages. Content may include news headlines or notification of sales for e-commerce sites, for example.

"This is a win-win for Web publishers and for Netcenter," said Eckart Walther, Netscape's group product manager for Netcenter personalization. "We get more traffic and so do they."

The new feature is an example of the "push" content model that by and large failed to live up to the hype it generated in the mid-1990s.

Companies already signed up for My Netscape Network channels include Garden.Com, JavaWorld, Lanier Travel Guides, Linux Today, MacCentral, and Salon Magazine.

My Netscape users can add the sites through links on the Web sites or through Netscape's Open Directory project. Open Directory, which debuted earlier this year, is Netcenter's directory listing project that relies on the contributions of volunteer editors across the Web rather than paid Netscape employees.

When users click on a link found in a channel, they do not completely leave their My Netscape page. Instead, the channel site's content comes up within a My Netscape frame that has links back to My Netcenter as well as links to the next and previous links on the channel.

Netscape built the My Netscape Network based on its RDF Site Summary format (RSS). Resource Description Framework is an XML-based standard for describing Web content other than HTML. RSS lets Web sites exchange content summaries and e-commerce data.