Successful Czech Site Adds News Component

Seznam (The List), the most successful Web venture in the Czech Republic, is set to launch Server Novinky (The News), a new project that promises to become another popular destination as well as the premium target for Web advertisers.

Twenty-two year old college dropout Ivo Lukacovic founded Seznam in 1996. Now owner and CEO of the company, Lukacovic seems to be East European version of Yahoo!’s Jerry Yang, making his site the most popular starting point for almost all Czech and Slovak Web surfers.

Seznam boasts about 15,000 unique hosts daily, a very reasonable number when compared with the total number of the Internet hosts in the Czech Republic (approximately 70,000). The advertisement turnover is still small in absolute numbers ($300,000 estimated for 1998) but is growing exponentially.

Seznam serves as the portal to Web sites written in the Czech language. Users can find categories that include news, travel, institutions, business, computers and Internet, reference, culture, science, education, and health. In addition to the portal site, Seznam offers its own full-text search engine as well as a resource for finding people on the Web.

Besides the Czech version of the site, Seznam started a Slovak language version in 1997, and also participates in running GIS server Mapy (The Maps) which allows users to find any street address in Prague and other large cities of the Czech Republic.

The new Seznam affiliate, Novinky, is primarily the news server. It features news categories including politics, economy, culture, and sports, along with commentaries, multimedia content, and a special “tabloid” section. Novinky, which is obviously oriented towards non-technical users, reflects the gradual transition to the consumer IT and Internet market in the Czech Republic.

“To keep the pace with the evolution of the Web, you have to build strong audience among non-techies,” said Lukacovic.

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