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Wired Digital's search engine site HotBot signed distribution deals with Netscape Communications Corp. and Yahoo! For Yahoo!, HotBot will serve as one of the alternative search providers in Yahoo! search results pages. HotBot also will hold a premium position on Netscape's Net Search page, which is the default search page on its Netcenter portal site.

Excite kicks off Excite Communities Sept. 16 with more than 1,000 populated communities. Excite's new community site went into beta on Aug. 16, and has attracted sites ranging from families and entertainment fan clubs to small businesses online.

Online companies joined software makers, media companies and education groups in announcing the launch of an educational campaign aimed at explaining Internet safety issues to parents. Two public service spots from Christy MacDougall Mitchell, New York, for America Links Up that will air on ABC, CNN, WB Cable and the Disney Channels urging parents sit with their kids in examining the Web will be accompanied by ads on Internet sites. Microsoft Corp., one of the sponsors, pledged to spend up to $500,000 to match ad commitments from online companies and said a number are already participating.

Infoseek Corp. launched an auto insurance center that will allow users to shop and select auto insurance coverage from Internet insurance company InsWeb.

24/7 Media and Corp. are forming a strategic partnership to franchise 24/7 in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Korea and Japan. 24/7 Media-Asia Network, which launches next month, will sell's network of sites as well as 24/7's network through both company's sales teams. 24/7 will receive royalties for all sales through 24/7 Media-Asia Network for seven years and is contemplating an exchange of minority equity positions with

America Online is launching a new women's channel (keyword:women) along with an agreement with new content company Oxygen Media that will provide the cornerstone for the new channel and oversee other women's content already on AOL. Oxygen Media is founded by CEO-Chairman Geraldine Laybourne, who resigned as president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks in May, to start her own company. Ms. Laybourne had previously run Nickelodeon Networks. The new channel will incorporate content from existing partners including Hearst HomeArts and ivillage. Advertisers include American Greetings, GTE Corp., Fragrance Counter and Prudential Insurance.

Cybermeals has hired Richard Frank as chairman, president and CEO, replacing CEO Bill Jesse who remains as a board member. Mr. Frank was most recently chairman-CEO of Comcast Content & Communication and before that served as chairman of Walt Disney Television & Telecommunications as well as president of the Walt Disney Studios.

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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