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Worldwide Web: Launches Online Site in France; More International Sites to Follow as World's No. 1 Gay Online Service Provider Charts International Business Strategy.

Business Editors and High Tech Writers

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 27, 2000 (, the world's leading provider of quality products and services to gay men and women, today formally launched a Web site in France--the first in a series of international sites the San Francisco-based market share leader will roll out this year.

The new online service ( is targeted to France's 3.5 million gays and lesbians of which an estimated 1.3 million are online. United Kingdom and Latin America-based sites are slated for launch later this summer and will join the U.S. based site where more than 2.5 million gay consumers already log on each month, many of them international visitors. The new French, U.K. and Latin America will for the first time offer gay consumers in those countries and cultures their own unique sites, featuring news, entertainment and content tailored to their specific interests and concerns. developed the site with the experienced team behind, the most popular French language gay and lesbian Web site. recently acquired, which has built a large member base and solid reputation over the past four years. By combining with, creates the number-one French gay portal on the Internet, positioning it perfectly to serve a large and active French-speaking gay and lesbian population. Last Sunday's Gay Pride 2000 parade in Paris was organized by 55 French gay organizations and drew an estimated crowd of nearly a quarter of a million people. France, like the U.S. site, provides products and services tailored for gays and lesbians: news, culture and leisure, lifestyle, shopping, fitness and health, travel, technology, sport, gay life, as well as interactive features like chat and message boards. The French-language site provides consumers both a local and global perspective, through locally produced content relevant to the French market, as well as international content from

"Global expansion is an important part of our business, and the fastest and most cost-effective way to reach critical mass and acquire localized content in France, was to buy the market leader," said Mark Elderkin, co-founder of and president of Online Partners.

"Paris is one of the world's gay capitals and a strategic choice for our first international offering. Our mission in founding France is to help the French gay and lesbian community empower and express itself freely and openly online, and at the same time give them access to products and services relevant to their interests. We are confident that the expansion of our international service will prove as attractive to high-quality advertisers, investors and partners as is proving in the U.S." he continued.

The French operation is led by Pierre Jouanny, senior vice president of Europe. He joins from the e-business division of IBM Global Services, and is charged with the further development of Online Partners' business in Europe, through the creation of additional subsidiary companies in other markets and by bringing together leading local gay sites sharing similar goals to

"Combining's online service offering with's powerful global brand will create an unstoppable powerhouse in France that we will aim to replicate throughout Europe," said Pierre Jouanny, senior vice president, Europe. employees will join and be based at's Paris office, which was opened in April 2000. Cedric Maloux, founder and CEO of will join as Director of UK and be based at's office in London. is the only gay online service with an implemented international business strategy and presence. The U.S. site already has a significant and statistically measured number of international visitors. has offices in London, Paris, New York, and Buenos Aires - all recognized as major gay international cities and selected by to maximize membership and business opportunities.

About is an international company that leverages the distribution power and global reach of the Internet to provide products and services to more than 2.5 million unique gay and lesbian consumers each month. The company's Internet portal,, is the largest and most extensive online network targeted to the lesbian and gay community. Interactive services include free ISP, news, search, shopping, chat, message boards, email, radio, matchmaking, and twelve original content channels. Customized e-commerce and direct marketing programs target the entertainment, finance, healthcare, pharmacy, telecommunications, and travel industries. syndicates content and services to more than 2,500 affiliates and has established distribution and advertising partnerships with Times Company Digital, CMGI, and AskJeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ). Investors include Chase Capital Partners, Flatiron Partners, Baroda Ventures, Macluan Digital, Jesse.Hansen.CoVe, and IDG Ventures. is based in San Francisco, with offices in New York, London, Paris and Buenos Aires.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 27, 2000
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