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Miningco Changes Name, Embarks On New Strategy

Internet guide MiningCo.com Inc. Monday changed its name to About.com Inc. and launched a new site

The company said it renamed itself to reflect its transition from primarily acting as a portal to a network of destinations incorporating original content, search and community at more than 650 topic-specific sites within 18 channels. The service and brand change takes effect Monday. Users who access www.miningco.com will be automatically forwarded to www.about.com.

In addition, the company's new ticker symbol, (Nasdaq: BOUT), is slated to take effect May 20th. Until then, it will continue to trade under the symbol (Nasdaq: MINE).

About.com said its first major marketing campaign will focus on the service's main benefits, professional human Guides, who run sites based on their area of expertise.

A membership drive is underway asking users to create an "AboutMe" page in site areas describing their interests to connect them with fellow hobbyists and favorite guides.

"Our users feel connected with the Guides and communities that are relevant to their interests," said Scott Kurnit, About.com's chairman and CEO. "Today we allow them to affiliate themselves with the Guides and GuideSite of their choice and more easily connect with others who share their interests online and offline."

On May 3 the company unveiled its national promotional campaign through TV, print, radio, outdoor, grassroots and online, with the tagline: "Hello, is anybody out there?" The campaign targets user frustration with what the company terms the impersonal nature of Internet properties.

"Unlike any other Internet brand, About.com has real people at the front," said John Caplan, senior vice president of marketing. "Our Guides ensure that any Internet user, regardless of his or her level of experience, can have a successful and fulfilling Internet experience. It's easier, more fun and far more productive to have a relationship with a knowledgeable person than with a robot."

"While 'mining' for information will remain a key part of our business, About.com positions us for the post-portal environment where consumers demand topic-specific destinations that combine search, community and original content," Kurnit said.

"We feel the About.com name better underscores the unique and highly targeted media platform to advertisers and commerce partners, which we feel is the most efficient platform for reaching relevant consumers."