Selected by Microsoft to Manage MSN Online Communities

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 7, 2000 —, a Chicago-based company specializing in the management of online communities, has been chosen by Microsoft Corp. to manage the People & Chat and (gaming) communities of the MSN® network of Internet services. Microsoft selected because its online community management services allow corporations to increase consumer loyalty while gathering insights from and lowering the cost of acquiring customers.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Microsoft has outsourced the management of its MSN online communities to,”
said Alan Warms, president and CEO of
“This relationship further validates the competitive advantage and economic value companies place on using professionally managed online communities to successfully conduct business on the Internet.”

Online communities and chat rooms provide users with an easy way to share information and receive support.’s 18 million members utilize real-time, in-game chat features while playing the site’s variety of free games. The growth in the number of users who access MSN has escalated the importance and usefulness of this communication channel.

“Using’s professional community management experts allows us to expand and improve the quality of our online services while providing a safe environment for our users,”
said Blake Irving, vice president of MSN at Microsoft.
“It gives us the ability to concentrate our resources on developing and enhancing the leading services from MSN.”

About is a provider of outsourced online community management for corporations. Along with its community management services, delivers to its clients strategic plans for building online communities and selecting, integrating and deploying the technology for these online communities. Through its Community Management Center, offers Fortune 1000 and dot-com companies the expertise and focus needed to manage the complex issues involved with harnessing the power of online community.’s approach delivers the experience and resources that its clients — which include Ace Hardware Corp., Cisco Systems, Microsoft and SAP AG — rely upon to create and grow vibrant online communities.

About MSN

MSN gives consumers a new home on the Internet — a central place where they can get everything they need from the Web and make the most of their time online. With more than 210 million visitors in September 2000, the MSN integrated network of content and services is the most popular destination on the Internet. MSN is available in 33 markets and in 17 languages — a broader global presence than any other portal. MSN takes advantage of the Microsoft .NET Platform to offer leading services, any time, any place and on any device, with the most integrated and personalized user experience for communications, search, shopping, personal finance and entertainment. MSN Internet Access and the recently introduced MSN Explorer offer the quickest, most personal and exciting ways to get on to and take advantage of the Web. Best-of-breed services include the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, the world’s largest e-mail system; MSN Messenger Service, one of the fastest growing instant messaging services on the Web; MSN Search, the second most popular online search service; MSN Mobile, the customizable wireless information service; the award-winning MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance service; MSN eShop, the one-stop online shopping resource; and MSN Custom Web Sites, the easy way to share information on the Web. MSN is located on the Web at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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