GeoCities updates watermarks

The Web community is adding functionality to its watermark that will redirect users to relevant topic channels.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
2 min read
GeoCities is launching initiatives focused on keeping its existing users on its site, while also trying to draw in new users with the allure of easy home page building.

GeoCities is adding functionality to its watermark that will redirect users to relevant topic channels, or what it calls "Avenues." The watermark, a transparent link at the bottom right-hand corner on every GeoCities page, previously linked back to the site's home page to recirculate traffic. But on Tuesday, the company took down the watermark and will relaunch it tonight with the new functionality.

The watermark, which was introduced in June, caused an uproar among many users who claimed it was intrusive and that it blocked features on the page. Some users protested by blackening their pages, while others threatened to walk away from the service.

Meanwhile, the company is also planning to release an updated HTML editor aimed at simplifying its home page building process in an effort to attract more novice users. The updated editor will incorporate "drag and drop" technology that the company says will make the building process faster and easier.

GeoCities will host a beta test period tonight at 7 p.m. PT for more experienced users. The beta test was advertised to the company's Silicon Valley members or "homesteaders."

The two developments today exemplify the need for Web companies to continually attract new customers while creating loyalty among existing ones. Community and home page building have been two strategies that many portals recently have adopted in an effort to garner user loyalty.

Other home page builder sites such as Tripod are also ramping up efforts to attract customers. Today, Tripod is expected to launch a redesign of its site that will organize member home pages into specific topic channels and introduce an e-commerce center where users can buy and sell products.