DMM: Ellen Pack

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Ellen Pack remembers two things she did the first time she went online in 1991: Find a doctor and get invited to a housewarming party in Palo Alto through Usenet news groups.

"I thought, `Wow, this is pretty amazing'," said Ms. Pack, 32, who founded Women.com Networks in 1992 after realizing the potential of the Internet as a networking community for women.

Vital stats:
Title: Founder and VP-product development, Women.com Networks, San Mateo, Calif.
Age/bio: 32, born in New York; B.A. in economics, 1987 and MBA, 1991, both Columbia College, New York.
Career
highlights:
Chief operating officer, Torque Systems, 1991-1992; current post, 1992-.

"Women love to network and share ideas and information, but there was no content. There were also no women online," said Ms. Pack, who left her job as chief operating officer of Torque Systems in San Francisco to start Women.com from her home.

At the time, there was no Web, so Women.com got its start as a bulletin board system whose members were sent floppy disks to get dial-up access.

"People took this attitude that women don't use computers and women don't come online; but we're all communicators. It's a no-brainer," said Ms. Pack.

In 1995, Women's Wire launched on the Web at www.women.com, and now has 2 million visitors each month. The Women.com network has grown to include Prevention's Healthy Ideas, Beatrice's Web Guide; Money Mode, a partnership with Bloomberg; and Stork Site. And it has lined up more than 150 advertisers and sponsors, such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

Women.com will be launching two new sites this year, including a parenting site to be launched this month and a lifestyle site in the home and beauty category with a major publishing partner.

"Now we've proved that women is not a content subject--it's a market," said Ms. Pack, who is now focusing on finding new strategic partners, exploring commerce deals and packaging content for distribution on Yahoo! and other areas.

Betcha didn't know: While she's cooking up deals at work, her husband cooks the meals at home.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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