MSN’s New Services Make It Easy To Create a Personal, Customized Space On the Web

REDMOND, Wash., April 19, 2000 —
“It was extremely easy to set up my own Web site on MSN because I could use a template,”
says Robin Ray, a graduate student studying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Santa Cruz, Calif. Ray describes her MSN Web site, the Tea Lovers Discussion Group, as

just a friendly place to talk about tea. All I needed to do was plug in some basic information, put up the message board and beg 10 friends to join. Now there are more than 150 members of the Tea Lovers Discussion Group .”

In response to customer successes like Ray’s, and other consumer requests for more customizable options in creating Web sites and online communities, MSN today announced additional services that make it even easier to create custom Web sites. This update to MSN includes new services such as file cabinets and family sites that enable a simple and no-cost way for people to put information on the Internet to share and communicate with family and friends — making the Web relevant for people on a daily basis. Now, individuals and groups worldwide can share ideas and information in 24 languages, easily stay in touch with family and friends, and meet others with common interests.

“This is what MSN’s Everyday Web vision is all about, making it simple and easy for people to accomplish their everyday tasks using the Internet,”
said Deanna Sanford, lead product manager of MSN marketing.
“MSN’s new custom Web sites extend that vision, making it easier than ever for people with all levels of experience to be able to design their own place on the Web. By making the process uncomplicated, we’re making the Web functional for more people.”

By using a template and inputting a relatively small amount of information, someone like Robin Ray can create a customized Web site literally in minutes. An individual may choose to use all or just some of the services and features, and he or she is also given the option of making the site public or private.

Get Ready, Get Set … Get Started On Your Custom Web Site with New MSN Services

Clicking on
“People and Chat”
on the MSN home page brings users to a list of updated and new services to create their own sites: Photo Albums , Family Sites , File Cabinet , Personal Pages , Web Communities and Workgroup Sites . Within each of these categories, there are templates for the user to quickly get started. The templates come pre-designed with different backgrounds, fonts and colors; each component is adjustable, however, so the user can design the site based on his or her own preferences.

Each Web site can include new services such as a file cabinet for storing documents and a group calendar for keeping track of dates and events. Users may also add components previously available through MSN such as chat rooms, message boards and photo albums.

The new File Cabinet service allows people to store and share documents on the Web. It can be used alone as a Web site or integrated within a larger Web site on MSN. The benefit is that no matter where individual users or community members log on to the Internet, they can have access to the files in their File Cabinet .

“I think a file cabinet would be a great feature,”
Ray said.
“I’m taking tea tasting classes where I get wonderful information sheets. It would be great to be able to upload them so other people could share this material.”

The group calendar functionality allows members of a community to access a shared calendar through the Internet. Users with access to the Web site can create new events to add to the calendar, modify or delete events, view event details, and view the group calendar by month, week or day.

With nearly 40 million people visiting MSN each month, it is no wonder that the number of MSN’s Web-based communities, such as the one created by Ray, has skyrocketed to more than 440,000. Now, with new features and services offered, plus tighter integration with the other MSN communication services, sharing information with friends and family on the Web everyday is a reality for the growing number of users.

MSN’s products and services are integrated to enable users to connect to the world of information, commerce, entertainment and services on the Web any time, any place and on any device. MSN has achieved record subscriber growth over the past four months with 500,000 net new additions, and a 12 percent growth in portal reach over six months. MSN Messenger Service includes over 10 million active users, and MSN’s Hotmail service continues its strong growth as the largest free email system in the world, with over 61 million active accounts.

“MSN is leading the way in enabling the next generation of Web services,”
said Sanford.
“We’re making the Web more interactive, more personal and simpler to use.”

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