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5/25/2005
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Earthlink Launches Personalized Portal For Non-Subscribers

Earthlink Inc. on Wednesday launched a personalized portal for non-subscribers that the Internet service provider hopes will attract customers to its high-speed service.

Earthlink Inc. on Wednesday launched a personalized portal for non-subscribers that the Internet service provider hopes will attract customers to its high-speed service.

The Atlanta-based company's customizable MyEarthlink is a personal start page that's meant as a launching point to the Internet. The portal includes personalized news, entertainment, sports, stock quotes and other content, company officials said.

The decision to open up its subscription-only product to non-subscribers was based on a strategy to attract more potential customers to Earthlink's broadband service.

"We look at this as creating a relationship (with non-subscribers)," Seth Roseman, product-marketing manager for Earthlink, said.

Roseman said the company did not launch the offering with the intent to enter the online advertising market, dominated by portal giants Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN. Advertising makes up about 1 percent of Earthlink's revenues, which are primarily derived from subscriptions to its high-speed and dial-up services.

MyEarthlink's search engine is powered by Google, and its shopping results are delivered through Amazon.com and Shopping.com. People bidding on EBay can also monitor and access their activities on the auction site through the portal.

Other services include job search and security alerts on the latest virus threats from Symantec Corp.

Last month, Earthlink reported that it had added 94,000 net broadband subscribers in the first quarter in swinging to a profit of $33.3 million. During the same period in 2004, the company had lost $11.8 million.

EarthLink ended the quarter with a total of 5.4 million subscribers, a 1.3 percent increase over a year ago.

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