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Zip2 Debuts Homebase Platform

Targeting newspaper customers, Internet platform solutions provider Zip2 Corp. Wednesday debuted its Zip2 Homebase product that marries local content with features from national portals.

The new product is aimed at newspaper chains and telecommunications companies who can employ Zip2 Homebase to integrate local news and features with portal offerings such as online shopping, free e-mail, Web searching, and personalization.

Other clients, such as online business directories and city guides, can boost online traffic and advertising with e-commerce features, new information services and content feeds to further develop local portal sites in regional markets.

Zip2's third-party content is culled from various sources, providing national business listings, stock quotes, national weather service reports and horoscopes. In addition, the content component includes automated publishing engines so that Zip2 partners can automatically post content online. E-tailers and community users will also be able to update information themselves.

Zip2's applications support portal features including Web search, sort and display, targeted ads, online shopping, free e-mail, message boards and chat rooms, customized preferences and administrative applications that enable automatic online updates such as consumer usage logs.

"With the combination of national functionality and local content, Zip2-powered Homebase sites serve as 'Internet Oases' -- where consumers easily connect with their communities and media customers and their advertisers win by the traffic generated online and off," said Elon Musk, Zip2's senior vice president and founder.

"Our company allows customers to leverage their own media assets and brand, while taking advantage of Zip2's technological resources and professional services to accelerate their speed to the online market."

Market researchers say local sites that can combine the best local information with essential Web services are good bets to generate customer growth and brand loyalty.

"We expect the local online market to have rapid growth in 1999-2002. It will be driven by consumers looking for all their best information in one place, and advertisers seeking targeted users," said Peter Krasilovsky, program director of local online commerce at Princeton, N.J.-based The Kelsey Group.

Current Zip2 platform clients include the Mirror Group, Classified Ventures, The New York Times Co., Knight Ridder, Morris Communications and newspapers in the Hearst, Times Mirror, Media General, Pulitzer Publishing and Freedom Communications chains.

On Tuesday, Compaq Computer Corp., announced it is acquiring Zip2 Corp. Privately held and located in Mountain View, Calif., Zip2 is to become an operating division of the Alta Vista Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Compaq.