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Palace works on presentation

The Palace will announce next week that it is relaunching its Web site, selling banner ads, and touting a new logo as part of a new strategy.

The Palace will announce Tuesday that it is relaunching its Web site, selling banner ads, and touting a new logo as part of a new marketing strategy.

Separately, industry executives said the company may soon announce a deal with Talk City to create a graphical virtual world for Talk City chat users.

Next week's announcement and the Talk City deal underscore the company's goal to make money. But it also seeks to erase a misperception that the Palace is a destination of its own when, in fact, it licenses software to hundreds of other Web sites.

When Time Warner Interactive launched the Palace in 1995, it was touted as a place to go and chat in a "dungeons-and-dragons" type of virtual world, said Tim Zuckert, vice president of marketing at the Palace. Since last year, however, it has changed direction with investors that include Time Warner, Intel, and Softbank Holdings.

"We are a platform," added Zuckert. "We provide the tools."

The company has struck software licensing deals with companies but also universities, record companies, and sports teams. The Palace's customers run the gamut from Merrill Lynch and Egghead to Syracuse University. It has more than 2 million users.

The Palace is in a crowded field of competitors, including ichat, eShare, and Oz Interactive.

The new Web site will act as a gateway to the Palace software and services, as well as the entrance to a network of 1,000 Palace sites, dubbed "PalaceSpace." The logo features a stylized "P."

The company still faces other marketing hurdles, Zuckert concedes. A big one, he says, is that its Web address is similar to one for an adult-rated site. The company has tried to buy the other URL but without any luck. He speculated that the confusion helped drive some business to the other site.