Keeping track of the number of people who have set up free Web sites at GeoCities is no easy task. President-CEO David Bohnett can tell you the number at any given moment, but that number is likely to change before he's finished pronouncing the last digit.
"It's fun to watch," Mr. Bohnett said. "We're getting four or five per minute."
There are now around 675,000 members, and with between 4,000 and 6,000 new members every day, GeoCities should have one million "homesteaders" by November, Mr. Bohnett said, referring to the people who've created free homepages on the site.
Advertisers have flocked to GeoCities for the huge market it reaches, and Mr. Bohnett estimates the company will be profitable by mid-1998, just three years after the site's June 1995 launch. American Airlines, American Honda Motor Co., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Simon & Schuster have all advertised on the site.
From years of working in high-tech fields, Mr. Bohnett felt few companies were taking full advantage of the Internet.
Many companies were concerned with providing access, but few emphasized the opportunity for "everybody to be their own publisher," he explained.
This focus on the user has remained strong. Virtually all of the site's content is created by members, and anyone with Web access can join the community for free. Home- pages are registered in one of 37 "communities" that match people with similar interests.
"The audience self-selects. People naturally fall into categories based on their interests," Mr. Bohnett said. "You're in a place you've chosen to be."
Betcha didn't know: Mr. Bohnett was a tour guide at Universal Studios, Hollywood, while a student at USC.
|Title:||President-CEO, GeoCities, Santa Monica, Calif.|
|Age/bio:||41, born in Chicago. B.A. in business, University of Southern California, 1978; MBA, University of Michigan, 1980.|
|Career highlights:||Staff consultant, computer system automation, Arthur Andersen & Co., 1980-83; director of technical operations, Essential Software, 1988-90; chief financial officer, Essential Software, 1990; director, product marketing, Goal Systems,1991-94; current post, 1994-.|
Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.