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M-Web Offers Personalized Web Layout

Online Portal M-Web recently added personalization to its home page, allowing users to edit the type and location of the content they see.

The "extreme personalization," as M-Web has dubbed it, was beta-launched on the 1st of June and 25,000 users have already registered.

Content is now displayed in self-contained, content specific "blocks" or modules. Each module can be dragged around the screen or hidden from view, with the user able to edit the content within each module -- e.g. what kind of headlines to view in the news module.

These modules are hosted by M-Web, while the content is provided by outside agents, currently from the Media24 group (for example SuperSport and News24), although Russell Yeo, general manager Studios, says that M-Web is "Open to dealing with anyone." In fact, they have recently formalized a deal with JobFood to address the needs of career seekers.

Yeo says that, while each module is based on the same Microsoft Active Server Page technology, they had to be individually tailored to accommodate the different technologies of the content providers. "We essentially had to build XML-bridges into each Content Provider's system," Yeo said.

These modules make for a potentially longer download time, of course, especially when users create large pages (e.g. with every category module, displaying all possible content). To overcome this, M-Web has implemented a "sequential download" strategy, where content will be available before it's all downloaded.

M-Web intends to create similar personalization initiatives throughout its Web "where appropriate," Yeo said. The next project will be the personalization of SuperSport, although not on a modular basis.

M-Web has offered some form of personalization for years now. "Every time we improved our personalization," Yeo said, "We found a higher and higher consumer uptake."