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October 6, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Virus veteran John McAfee’s latest excursion into consumer software, Tribal Voice Inc, has unleashed a new version of its PowWow community communications tool (NBD 06/22/98). PowWow is a community chat, messaging, bulletin board and buddy system designed for families, sporting clubs, church groups and so on. It shares features with each of iChat, eServe and ICQ but doesn’t quite compete directly with any of them. In addition, its peer-to-peer architecture means that participating computers talk directly to each other, putting less strain on the company’s central server in Colorado. PowWow 3.7 is designed to be easier for non-technical people to install and use than previous editions. It includes wizard-like cue cards to get new users off on the right foot. In addition to the new software, Tribal Voice unveiled a PowWow partners program to get internet service providers (ISPs) involved in selling and supporting PowWow communities, as a sort of value-added service for consumer-oriented ISPs. Target partners are large ISPs serving more than 25 area codes and 50,000 subscribers, but the company says it won’t turn smaller parties away. The idea is that the service providers can levy a small fee over and above the $49.95 Tribal Voice charges annually for creating and hosting communities (it gives the client away free). That way, the community stays online even when the community owner’s computer is offline. The company says it has a large regional ISP all but signed up, and will announce who that is as soon as possible. Further announcements are also in the pipeline. Watch this space.


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