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Intranets.com Offers Businesses Free Intranets, Announces Content Partnerships
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Posted On August 23, 1999
Intranets.com (http://www.intranets.com) has announced a new service that provides free intranets for small and medium-sized businesses, departments, associations, workgroups, and other communities. The service, which went "live" on August 19, offers free intranet applications, free Web hosting, and a free custom URL to all subscribers. Intranets.com generates revenue from advertisers and sponsors. The company also announced strategic partnerships with NewsEdge Corporation, Digital River, GoTo.com, and Stockpoint to deliver online business services and content to customer intranets.

"Intranets.com is the first company to bring the power of mass Internet consumer marketing to the business world," said Bill Gross, CEO of idealab!, the majority shareholder of Intranets.com, and founder of many Internet start-ups, including GoTo.com, eToys, and Tickets.com. "In the past we've seen free hosting, free e-mail, and free Web sites offered to the general public, but no other offer presents the functionality and opportunity that Intranets.com provides the business community."

"Our two and one-half years' experience in delivering intranet solutions to IT managers have helped us understand the needs of the small and mid-size business market," said Steve Crummey, CEO of Intranets.com. "We have created this solution because we are confident that a free, hosted intranet with vital, fully functional applications is a necessity for any business or community that seeks to optimize the benefits of Internet technology."

Intranets.com represents a new company name and new business model for IntraNetics Inc., a Massachusetts company that sold software to create intranets. According to Rick Faulk, vice president of marketing, the company will continue to offer the IntraNetics product as a brand. The software continues to appeal to companies that need customized solutions and want to host an intranet in-house, and have the expertise, resources, and budget to support it. The new IntraNetics 2.1, available for $4,995, now supports up to 1,000 users.

For smaller companies, and those without in-house hosting capabilities, the Intranets.com intranet has proven to be an attractive solution. According to Faulk, the company expected to have about 1,000 businesses at launch, but was pleasantly surprised by the response—now at 12,000 businesses, representing about 600,000 users (at an average of about 50 users per company). He said that by mid-November, they expect to have 75,000 businesses, with 2 million users. The company has had to triple its hardware capacity already, and expects to add more employees to its current staff of 30. He also indicated the company plans to file for an IPO within 6 to 12 months.

The initial release of Intranets.com includes a number of group applications, including Members (an online database for member contact information), Contacts (such as suppliers, vendors, and partners) Calendar, Documents (a central repository for important documents), and Announcements.

The partnership with NewsEdge enables Intranets.com to deliver customized industry-specific news created from customer information gathered during registration. Stockpoint provides a personal finance area that offers up-to-date financial news and market data, stock charts, and portfolio tracking tools.

As a GoTo.com Custom Integrated Search affiliate, Intranets.com enables small and medium sized businesses to provide their employees with "search the Web" functionality at their Intranets.com sites. The venture with GoTo allows Intranets.com to integrate a GoTo search console into the look, feel, and navigation of its site, and incorporate GoTo's search results.

Intranets.com also offers the opportunity to participate in the free "IntranetsRewards" program, which rewards Intranets.com members with financial incentives for business goods and services purchased through their Intranets.com intranets. The program aggregates purchasing from all the Intranets.com subscribers and provides members with discounts on goods. Digital River hosts the Intranets.com Software Store, which provides more than 100,000 downloadable and packaged software applications and digital products. Other offers currently include travel from Travelocity, printing from iPrint, and PC training from Learn2.com.

The next release, expected in about 30 days, will add group discussion capabilities and communication features, like chat and e-mail, and there will be a number of feature improvements, like increased search capabilities. Faulk also said that delivery of news would be customizable on an individual basis, not just by the company profile. Advertising would also be targeted to the individual level, such as marketing. Currently, ads that appear are consistent with the specific business—"context advertising," as he described it.

Intranets.com hosting services include password-protected security, 25 MB of disk space (with additional space available for a nominal charge), site backup, no setup charges, and "24x7" access. Online support, available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, is provided free of charge. E-mail support is also free of charge. Telephone support is available with a pay-per-incident charge of $29.95.

For more information about Intranets.com, visit http://www.intranets.com, e-mail webmaster@intranets.com, or call 888/932-2600 or 781/932-0960.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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