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AT&T shuts down health site

Published on .

AT&T Personal Online Services is shuttering its AT&T HealthSite Web site, only a month before the planned commercial launch. The site, which opened earlier this summer in test version, featured content from exclusive partners Rodale Health Online, IVI Publishing and MediLife. Those partners will now have to find their own way on the Web.

AT&T's goal was to spin off the site to investors, but the company decided to halt its development instead to concentrate on "services more directly aligned with our core business," a spokesman said. AT&T will now focus on developing the Hometown Network, a series of community-themed Web sites now in test, the spokesman said.

"What we learned in the scheme of things is that local [content] is much more integral to the core of AT&T," said Caroline Vanderlip, president of AT&T Personal Online Services. "We had a number of very interested investors, but we determined with the investors that it was not an area we wanted to put a lot of time and attention to..

The AT&T site bears a message referring users to sites for the individual content providers. AT&T will help content providers transition away from the HealthSite and has offered to host their services.

Rodale has already moved its content off AT&T servers, said Susan Russo, general manager of Rodale Health Online. Prevention is now at http://www.prev.com, while Men's Health is currently at http://www.menshealth.neographic.com but will eventually reside at its own domain.

"I still think the vertical [content] approach is a compelling approach," Ms. Russo said. "Clearly, Hometown is more comfortable [for AT&T] given their other businesses..

Copyright August 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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