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No joke: Motley Fool on Web

It's no joke: The Motley Fool officially launches its new site.

It's no joke: The Motley Fool officially launched its new site today, naturally.

"This is the day we claim as our own," said Tom Gardner, cofounder of the site, which delivers financial news with an attitude.

The name may sound like a joke, but their message is quite serious. The Motley Fool, developed under America Online's Greenhouse program, is so named because "the fools in the Elizabethan courts were the only ones who could tell the truth without risking their necks," Gardner said.

"We're trying as best we can to let as many people as possible know about some conflicts of interest that exist in the financial world that we think are disadvantageous to the general public."

The company announced six weeks ago that it was moving from AOL's Web hosting service, PrimeHost, to UUNet Technologies, which hosts more than 50,000 business customers.

Gardner said the move in no way symbolizes any abandonment of AOL, but rather, that the Fools think UUNet's specialization in hosting will serve them better. "We have tried to be as clear as possible. We have not left nor do we plan to ever leave America Online's core service. We're still there. Our community's still vibrant." He added that while some people discount AOL and say that the future is only on the Web, they shouldn't. "We believe one of the great misconceptions is that the Web has beaten up all over America Online. We still think AOL's in a good position."

In fact, about 60 percent of the 500,000 or so households who visit the site monthly are AOL customers, Gardner said.

The executives at Greenhouse also have stated that their goal is to deliver up its products wherever they can, be that on the Web, on AOL, or on other platforms.

But today's announcement focused strictly on the Web. The new site will feature expanded bulletin boards, chat, news features, research, games, and stories

In addition to the new community functionality, the site also will feature a new data backbone, including custom company profiles on 8,000 companies created by Hoover's, quotes and portfolios from PC Quote, and company news from NewsAlert, according to the company.

The Fool's stated goal is to teach anyone and everyone interested about investing. It aims to be the place people will trust. Gardner said the community bulletin boards are an essential part of the Fool because they allow customers to keep investment firms--and the Fools themselves--in line.

"It certainly is unusual in the financial world for anyone to market themselves as being foolish," Gardner noted. "Obviously, we love that because we think the whole financial industry is ripe for reform."