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CrowdBurst Unveils New Way to Browse the Web

CrowdBurst Corp. went live Thursday with its Crowdburst service which seeks to replace the solitary Web surfer with instantly communicating communities.

"On the Web today, you can be in the middle of what is the equivalent of Times Square and there isn't a single person around. There's no one to talk to, no one to give you help," said CrowdBurst President and Chief Executive Officer Cary David.

The company Thursday launched a preview release of CrowdBurst, a free Web-based browser service that allows Web surfers to instantly communicate and to form communities on any page and allows Web sites to build loyal audiences and to better service customers.

"There are a lot of people who are trying to redefine the Web browsing experience today," said Nathan Tyler, director of marketing, CrowdBurst Corp. "In this market we believe we have an advantage."

Tyler said that what separates CrowdBurst from services like ThirdVoice, Cahoots and Gooey is that it's Web-based; a user simply clicks on a CloudBurst link and begins to communicate rather than waiting for software to download.

"The key thing is that we offer a new category of Web browsing," Tyler said. "We have a benefit for Web surfers in that you can communicate and co-surf the Web together."

But CrowdBurst will also create significant advantages for Web companies by serving as an outsourced community solution, Tyler said.

"A Web site can use CloudBurst to build a loyal community around the site and also communicate with those people," Tyler said.

CrowdBurst also announced strategic partnerships with a host of Web companies that will use CrowdBurst to enhance the interactivity and stickiness of their Web sites, products and services. Partners include: beautyQ.com, Elok.com, Financial Finesse, FreeOnline, Red Button and SF Interactive. In addition, CrowdBurst will be bundled with CoffeeCup Software's leading Web site design software, allowing designers to easily add CrowdBurst to any Web page.

"Our goal is to bridge the gap between the static content of the Web and the people surfing the Web," David said. "With CrowdBurst, people burst out of the page, adding immediate interactivity and enjoyment to the Web surfing experience."

"The CrowdBurst community solution is differentiated because it allows users to start surfing together in seconds," said beautyQ.com co-founder Ann Fowler. "It's particularly powerful for us since we focus on teen girls, who like to travel in packs and are tech savvy."

When a user clicks a CrowdBurst link, either on the CrowdBurst home page or on one of the growing list of sites in the CrowdBurst Network, the service appears instantly as a new window where users can meet and communicate with people who are viewing the same page. Users can chat and browse the Web together in special interest groups with CrowdBurst Chat. They can express their opinions and read the opinions of others with CrowdBurst Notes. And, they can create and follow annotated tours of the Web with CrowdBurst Trails.

"At Netscape we learned that collaboration and interactivity were important tools for consumers and for businesses," said CrowdBurst Vice President of Business Development Jed Kleckner.

"We're building on the momentum of AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ to deliver a free platform that will allow Web businesses and Web consumers to interact immediately."

CrowdBurst was founded in August 1999, by MIT graduate Cary David and Netscape veteran