Wal-Mart Shuts Down the Hub

Retailer's Foray Into Social Networking Closes After Less Than Three Months

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Less than three months after launching its quasi-social-networking site aimed at teens, Wal-Mart has shut down the Hub.
Wal-Mart's first attempt to enter the teen social-networking scene has gone down in flames.
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The home page at schoolyourway.walmart.com now simply reads "Back to Class" and explains, "Sorry, but the School Your Way promotion has ended." After a few seconds, visitors are automatically redirected to Walmart.com.

'Show it to the world'
"The Hub" was designed by Wal-Mart to allow teens to "express their individuality" but it screened all the content, informed parents when their children joined and forbade users to e-mail one another. Teens were invited to create their own page so they could "show it to the world and win some fab prizes," including a chance to have their videos appear in a Wal-Mart TV commerical created by GSD&M, Austin, Texas, a shop that's currently among the finalists in the reatiler's $580 million review.

Whether any teens will end up in a Wal-Mart spot isn't known; calls to the retailer were not returned at deadline.

Wal-Mart launched the site to coincide with its back-to-school campaign in mid-July and to close the trend gap it faces with Target as it aims to win more teen-apparel dollars.

In August, the site attracted 91,000 unique visitors, according to ComScore Networks. Social-networking giant MySpace.com garnered 55.8 million unique visitors the same month.

Gavin O'Malley contributed to this report.
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