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RealTime IT News

Yahoo: Won't You Be My Neighbor? Part Two

Perhaps not wishing to be left out of the portal community craze, Yahoo! Inc. today debuted its own version of a community builder service.

The service, Yahoo! Clubs, enables Yahoo users to create personalized Web communities with free message boards, chat, e-mail, and personalization tools. The community architecture is aimed at families, clubs, workgroups, co-workers, and others who share interests.

Yesterday, Excite, Inc. launched a beta version of Excite Communities on its People & Chat channel, with similar community developer tools aimed at special interest groups.

Echoing Excite's program, Yahoo! Clubs is also geared to nontechnical users, in creating unlisted and listed clubs. Provided tools include message boards, free e-mail, member activity profiles, and Web links. Yahoo! said the Clubs will appeal to friends, families, and business-to-business interests.

"With all of the new communications tools available on the Internet, people have been looking for a way to bring it all together into one place," said Tim Brady, vice president of production at Yahoo!, in a statement. "By establishing a personal Web community through Yahoo! Clubs, individuals have their own place on the Web that they can participate in and keep coming back to on an ongoing basis. Yahoo! Clubs gives users an opportunity to develop and grow relationships with others who share a common bond or interest."

Previously Lycos, Inc. launched a community initiative, with recent acquisitions of WhoWhere?, Angelfire.com, and mailcity.com sites. GeoCities, although under fire recently for improper privacy practices, was a forerunner of the Web communities push.

At the end of the day, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish between the "me-too" offerings the major portal players are providing in hopes of enticing users.