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  1. Technology
August 27, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

GeoCities Inc has upgraded its highly controversial campaign to brand community member pages with a GeoCities watermark (CI No 3,439). From now on, instead of linking directly back to the GeoCities home page, the ubiquitous watermark will take visitors to lists of related sites in what are called the Avenues. For example, a page about literature might have its watermark linked to the Arts & Literature Avenue. We believe this will help visitors understand that there are more great, similar home pages for them to explore, said GeoCities in a statement. In other words, the Santa Monica, California-based company fresh from its IPO is confronting the same problem portals have: high hit rates, but high churn. People click through because there’s no particular incentive to stick around. What incentive there is, is provided by GeoCities’ unpaid content developers, the millions of members who host their personal home pages on the site. Unfortunately for the company, these members aren’t especially pleased about the watermark. Its introduction caused an exodus of several quite high-profile GeoCities sites to other, less economically pressured providers. Now users are worried they will be burned again, and the discussion on Usenet newsgroup alt.geocities.homepages is tense. If it locks up my pages the way the GeoGuide did, writes Cora Thompson, webmaster for the 44th Ward Regular Republicans in Illinois, I am through with GeoCities.

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