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MiningCo.com becomes About.com

The change is the Web guide service's attempt to emphasize its content and community features, executives say.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
Web guide service the Mining Company today changed its name to About.com.

The new brand is the company's attempt to emphasize the site's content and community features. Up to now, the Mining Company had branded itself as a place to find information on specific topics of interest on the Web. Now, according to chief executive Scott Kurnit, About.com wants to broaden the way users view the service.

"One of the key things is that it's a pretty ubiquitous phrase," Kurnit said about his company's new name.

Despite the brand change, Kurnit said the site's services and basic model will remain intrinsically the same.

The site employs more than 650 Web "guides," individuals who are knowledgeable in particular topics of interest. Guides provide editorial commentary, find links to other relevant Web sites, or host chats. Guides are chosen by the company through an application process. As compensation, guides are offered Mining Company stock as well as a percentage of advertising revenue.

With the new brand, Kurnit is setting out to attract more traffic to the site in an effort to become one of the top five sites online. That's a long way to go considering only 10 percent of all Web users visit the site--minuscule reach compared to the roughly 50 percent that Yahoo and Lycos attract.

From now on, visitors to "www.miningco.com" will be automatically redirected to "www.about.com."

The company's stock ticker symbol, currently "MINE," will change to "BOUT" on May 20.