Guby describes its concept as a "second-generation" approach to portals, based on the idea that users prefer local content developed in-market. The network members claim that collectively they have 2.2 million visitors per month, making them one of the region's top five busiest portals.
The network currently is comprised of: Grippo.com of Argentina(www.grippo.com), Achei.com of Brasil (www.achei.com.br), La Br1jula.com.cl of Chile (www.brujula.cl), Conexcol.com of Colombia(www.conexcol.com), Mexico Global of Mexico (www.mexicoglobal.com) and Yagua of Paraguay (www.yagua.com).
Members will retain their brand identities and local emphasis but will offer regional products from Guby, such as email and chat, to ensure consistent and high technological standards.
"While other portals adopt a corporate mantra that growth comes fromregionalizing and homogenizing, we are user-focused which results in a keep-it-local philosophy," says Mario Espinoza, founder and president of Guby.com.
He adds that one of the network's strengths is the power of the searchengines. "There is no other place where you'll find the depth of information for your country," he says. "We've catalogued hundreds of thousands of local sites to give you the most relevant information."
Revenue from the site is derived from advertising, but Guby plans to offer e-commerce soon.
In addition to the local offices in each country, the company has offices in Miami and San Francisco but has yet to finalize the location of its corporate headquarters.
CEO Peter Campbell contends that a presence in San Francisco is critical."Silicon Valley is the heart of the technology world, and technology is anintegral element of Guby," he says.
Guby faces competition from established portals and search engines such as Yahoo en Espanol, StarMedia, UOL, Yupi and El Sitio, as well as newentrants to the Latin America market such as AOL Latin America and Telefonica's Terra Networks.
Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.