Outblaze, a startup partially backed by Hongkong.com Studios, formally launched Instant Portal, a solution for Web sites that want to provide their own branded portal services.
Instant Portal’s services include e-mail, message boards, mailing list and chat facilities, all of which can be labeled by Web sites.
Sign up for Instant Portal is free but Outblaze expects to receive for its services 50 percent of banner advertising revenue that each partner site earns.
“Outblaze is giving Web sites additional firepower to attract and keep more users,” said Antony Ip, Outblaze’s co-founder and vice president of marketing.
“Web sites with great content can now also be the Yahoo! of their category becoming a vertical portal while keeping their resources concentrated on developing great content and building communities,” continued Ip.
“What makes instant portal significant is that it allows anybody to have their own co-branded portal,” said Yat Siu, co-founder and chief technology officer of Outblaze.
According to Outblaze executives, Instant Portal permits partner sites to completely customize domain, colors, layout, text, language, logo, welcome message and e-mail tagline.
The product is currently available in all European languages and in traditional and simplified Chinese characters, and soon to be available in Russian and Japanese.
“With the launch of Instant Portal, the technical team has accomplished the task of building a system scalable to multiple millions of users and a guaranteed 95 percent uptime with multiple network centers,” stated Siu.
One of Outblaze’s current partners is Webunion, a large Chinese language banner network that allegedly has 4000 member sites and delivers 10 million banners per month.
“With Outblaze, we are able to offer Chinese language free e-mail service to our users in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a great service for this largely untapped market,” said Godfrey Ko, CEO of Webunion.
Outblaze has signed partnerships with over twenty international web sites including portal Jayde Online, Greetsomeone Greeting Cards, search engine Powersearch, HK Magazine, Isleuth.com, Yankeeman, and various Taiwanese and Hong Kong fan clubs.
“It’s an excellent marketing idea because everyone has portal fever,” commented Phil Ingram, an industry veteran and Orientation’s marketing manager.
“However, a portal isn’t made up of cold hard components such as free e-mail, message services, and mailing lists,” continued Ingram. “A portal has to have a reason for existing.”
Siu, the major shareholder in the company and the architect behind Instant Portal, previously founded two other companies, Radiance Software Corp.–sold to Silicon Graphics Inc. in 1993–and Hong Kong Cybercity–a popular free e-mail, free homepage provider.
Ip has worked in the business development division of China Internet Corp. (CIC) and is the son of Peter Yip, a local Internet mogul and vice chairman of CIC.