MSN Launches 120 Communities

Microsoft Corp.
today announced the
preview of 120 Web communities on its portal site, MSN.


Slated to officially launch later this fall on MSN.com, users can see a
preview of the areas at MSN Web
Communities
. It is scheduled to launch on MSN.COM later this fall.
Microsoft said the Web Communities rolled out today include almost 70
forums that were previously only available only to subscribers of MSN
Internet Access.


In addition, 50 existing
communities are featured from other MSN services, such as the Microsoft
Expedia.com travel service, Microsoft Investor and the Computing Central.
The communities
have been redesigned for a new look and are aggregated in one area on
MSN.COM. Each Community is managed by an online community manager.


Microsoft said the Web Communities provide topical information and links
to newsgroups, user-created chats and monitored chats in the 120 sections,
which it said makes the MSN Network of Internet Services area one of the
largest
Web-based chat networks.


Microsoft has been taken to task by critics who note the Redmond, WA-based
giant is late in the portal game, and faces intense competition against
Internet leaders such as Yahoo!, Lycos, Excite,
and community-oriented GeoCities. But backed by a positive cash flow and
intense marketing, the company may catch up to competitors.


The company said features and functionality will continue to be enhanced
during the coming months. Next year MSN said it expects to allow users to
create and manage their own communities, something sites such as GeoCities,
and more recently Excite, Lycos and Yahoo! already offer.


“Providing high-quality managed communities is essential to a great customer
experience and the continued success of our network,” said Laura Jennings,
vice
president of MSN. “MSN Web Communities will help our customers more easily
exchange important information, stay better informed and ultimately get
more done.”


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