A Seattle based startup is offering to operate Internet portals for brand name affiliates including traditional media Web sites, merchants, manufacturers and Internet pipe providers.
Founded in 1996 by the chief architect and development manager of The Microsoft Network (MSN), Jeff Lill, Openspace.com has been designed to provide a single portal source by integrating content, community, desktop services - such as Web mail and Web bookmarks - and shopping, the main ingredients of an Internet portal.
This will allow users to check their email, calendar and address book as well as create a personal home page, all from within the affiliate's portal. This is accomplished because an Openspace.com portal, according to the company, tightly integrates content with community and commerce. For example, co-founder Richard Rosen pointed out that users can read a news story, talk back to the story or buy a product relating to the story.
He explained that while Internet publishing and electronic commerce applications have become increasingly mission critical, many off line brands lack the resources, expertise or time to develop and maintain successful portals.
"Openspace.com fills this demand for turnkey portal publishing and electronic commerce services," Rosen claimed.
The company plans to generate revenue for its affiliates by targeting pertinent product and service offerings based on members' unique profiles. The company additionally plans to sign on affiliate relationships with traditional media Web sites, merchants, Internet pipe providers and consumer product companies.
"By taking advantage of Openspace.com's portal network, affiliates can promote increased traffic and repeat usage of their site, with no additional investment," Rosen said.
Up until about a year ago, the word portal was reserved for search engines that began evolving toward building out more services and hosting additional content. Today, portal can mean just about anything. IT managers can customise enterprise portals to serve up real time data, key performance indicators and news feeds, and offer search and query functionality.
Many IT companies are finding enterprise portals alluring as they look to repair their Intranets which have grown cluttered and segmented. According to investment company Merrill Lynch, the sale of enterprise portal software will reach nearly $15 billion by 2002.
Previously Lill co-founded Softdesign, developer of Crunch! and Project for Windows, which was acquired by Microsoft in 1989. Richard Rosen founded Boldly Interactive, an Internet marketing company in 1997.
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