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WEB RINGS: AN INTERNET MARKETER'S DREAM

3COM CORP. GIVES WORD OF mouth some of the credit for turning its PalmPilot handheld device into an overnight success. Now, it's getting another boost from the latest trend on the Internet: Web rings. Those are nifty links to related Web pages--marked by icons at the bottom of Web sites--that help guide consumers through cyberspace to find the info they want. A ring on handhelds might show a road map of the next five links on everything from fan clubs to retailers. PalmPilot is connected to no fewer than 200 sites via four rings.

The Web ring phenomenon, which started in 1995 with a nonprofit organization called Webring, has taken off in the past few months. It even has commercial copycats, including LoopLink in New York. Now, Starseed Inc. in Ashland, Ore., which bought Webring last June, is about to relaunch itself as a commercial operation. Its site-linking service will still be free. Early next year, it plans to offer a set of fee-based E-commerce services for sites that want to sell through the rings.

EDITED BY HEATHER GREEN
Steve Hamm


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Updated Dec. 4, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.
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