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Snap, Xoom disappear with NBCi relaunch

The company launches a test version of its new Web site, burying two long-standing Internet brands, Snap.com and Xoom.com.

NBCi launched a test version of its new Web site today, burying two long-standing Internet brands, Snap.com and Xoom.com.

The NBCi beta release comes as the company prepares for a relaunch of the site, scheduled to go live with an NBC TV advertising campaign when NBC launches its fall TV season.

"We're going ahead and integrating all of our consumer brands and properties into one Web site under one unified brand, NBCi.com," said Richard Silverman, vice president of corporate communications. "That's the most powerful brand that we have in our stable because of the association with the NBC peacock brand."

People who set up personalized services at Snap and those who erected home pages at Xoom will be able to tap into those services and pages under NBCi. Personal home pages will be readdressed and redirected to the "nbci.com" domain over time.

The newly integrated NBCi site offers what has become standard fare for a Web portal: news and financial data; information about entertainment, travel and shopping; Web search capabilities; free email accounts; and utilities such as calendars and address books.

NBCi's beta is being launched as Web portals have come under increased scrutiny. CMGI's AltaVista this week laid off a quarter of its work force, retreating from a broad-based portal strategy to its original search focus.

NBCi executed its own cutbacks this summer, trimming 20 percent of its staff last month.

Originally launched as a property of CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, Snap became a joint venture of CNET and General Electric's NBC before it merged with Xoom and other NBC properties to become NBCi. CNET retains a minority stake in NBCi.