Yahoo! opens online community

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Yahoo! Aug. 18 introduced Yahoo! Clubs, a scaled-down version of a home pages site. The free Yahoo! Clubs, which requires users to register, features free e-mail, chat and message boards.

To start a club, users can choose from more than a dozen categories and pick a name for their club. They have the option of whether or not to list the club, or have it remain private. On the site, users can list photos and post messages. Yahoo! also just released Yahoo! Calendar, a Web-based personal calendar, which will work with the service.

Yahoo! already has 18 million registered users, meaning people who've shared their personal preferences with the portal in order to receive one of Yahoo!'s free services, such as e-mail.

"We had the dynamic brewing already," said Jeff Mallett, senior VP-business operations at Yahoo!, who said its users were requesting a clubs network. "We looked at the most popular areas on Yahoo! and what we think brings together the most people."

Mr. Mallett said he anticipates less than a megabyte of information will be stored on each of the club sites. "The vast majority of the people who join our clubs will already have established a home page," Mr. Mallett. If people are interested in building more extensive home pages -- up to 11 megabytes -- they'll be referred to Yahoo!'s co-branded area on GeoCities, in which the portal owns a majority stake.

Mr. Mallett said Yahoo! Clubs, which has no advertisers to report yet, is another way to finely target advertising. This announcement comes a day after Excite released Excite Communities, an easy-to-use home pages site.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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