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e CLIPS: Now there's a different kind of weblog.

Byline: Giles Turnbull

BELIEVE it or not, people are still starting up internet-based businesses. These days,or course, they don't expect instant praise in the broad sheet newspapers,nor do their founders anticipate becoming paper millionaires within days oflaunch.

The new generation of dotcom companies are treading very carefully indeed, focusing from the outset on one very important business basic: profit.

20six (www.20six.co.uk) is one of them,createdby a pan-European group of experienced entrepreneurs with a passion for the web. The product on offer is something different: weblogs.

The theory behind the company's business plan goes something like this,as explained by UKmanaging director Azeem Azhar. phone to your 20 six web site, along with a short comment. Right now, signing up for a 20six blogis free and is likely to remain so, but AzeemAzhar was unable to say precisely which elements of the service will remain free forever.

``Forever is a very long time,'' he said. Existing web loggers will look at the service and possibly think that the phone-to- web log is the only interesting feature,but Azeem isn't concerned with them. ``I readalot of blogs that are out there now `he's got one himself - azeem.azhar.co.uk' and I think it's great that so many people are producing so much wonderful content.

``But 20 six is not aimed at the people who already have weblogs,it's aimed at the millions more who don't.'' Azeem also thinks the company's European base will appeal toEuropean users more than existing American blogging services like Blogger (www.blogger.com) and Movable Type (www.movabletype.org).

``We can offer a better service because wearemore localised. We use a European -friendly tone and we understand better the needs of European users, who have access to more advanced mobile phone services than are yet available in the US.''

It will be fascinating to watch future developments at 20six.

Something tells me it won't be the last commercial venture into weblogging, and it's likely that some much bigger,better-known names will be dipping their toes in sooner or later, if they also decide that where there's blogs, there's money. In the meantime, if you haven't got a weblog,and you think you'd like to try one, 20 six is as goodachoice as any.

Backin the days of the last dotcom boom, there were probably no more than 50 web logs anywhere in the world, and you could keep track of all of them quite easily.

But web logs - very personal sites, updated very frequently, and usually containing a lot of links to other sites - have become enormously popular. Now there a remore than anyone can count (Azeem Azhar thinks there are three million in the US, and about 25,000 in theUK).

Soit's clear that peoplelike the idea of having a website to call their own, a kind of on line diary that they can update as and when they feel like it. It's partly about personal publishing, and it's partly about joining a rapidly-growing community, since web loggers tend to find themselves communicating with, reading, and linking to other webloggers' sites. The crucial bit is that, according to Azeem,5-10pcof people who start their own weblogend up wanting to make use of extrafeatures,and are prepared to pay money for them. That's where the team behind 20 six anticipate making their profit. They will chargebloggers for domain names, or for removal of the banner advertisements that appear at the top of each page. It's also likely that charges will be imposed for certain special services. For the time being, it's free to use a 20six weblogas a ``moblog'' (a ``mobile weblog'') for photos taken on your camera phone.

Assuming your phone service provider allows you to, you can send images directly from theBROWSING AROUND

8Explore the photoblogof one British 50-something (www.sensitivelight.com/blog/)

8 Find out about theNational Museum of Computing (www.digitalhistory.org.uk)

8

The BBC is looking for electronic warriors to battle in its Fightbox (www.bbc.co.uk/fightbox)

8

Catch up on some blethers about gardening (www.yourgarden.com/blether)

Giles Turnbull has a web site

at gilest.org

CONTACT Giles Turnbull at gilest. org Features,Daily Post,PO Box 48,Old Hall Street,Liverpool,L69 3EB.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2003
Words:713
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