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Published: Saturday, 2/7/2004

Fusion: Dean Dub, SPAM update

DEAN DUB

A sign that says “JohnKerry.com” is prominent in the background of the candidate s campaign appearances. Analysts say that s because he s borrowing a page from the kinds of success rival Howard Dean had in using the Net to mobilize support.

Early on in the campaign, Dean tapped the power of the Internet to raise money and spread awareness of his campaign, raising tens of millions of dollars.

Like the Dean campaign site, Kerry s emphasizes fund raising. Both sites have links for contributors to make donations or commitments, on their home pages.

http://www.johnkerry.com

SPAM UPDATE

Unsolicited messages represent half of all e-mail traffic, according to Brightmail, a San Francisco-based software company. Internet users are getting more than fed up about it all, revealed a survey released at a global anti-spam meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Almost half of all respondents to the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue said they are shopping less on the Internet or not at all because they are concerned about receiving junk e-mail.

Meanwhile, Yahoo is reported considering working with Goodmail, a Silicon Valley startup, which has a system for e-mail postage. High-volume mailers would be required to pay for a block of messages to be sent, receiving an encrypted code number to be included in the message. Internet service providers, working with Goodmail, and receiving some of the money, would deliver the messages.

RED WATCH

Marketers at America Online, part of Time Warner, are targeting another sub-market on the Internet with Red, a version of its service tailored to 13- to 17-year-olds. Subscribers will have options to customize the look and feel of the screens, and be able to choose from demographic-friendly content from Teen People, Mad Magazine and DC Comics, as well as participate in dozens of online chats, the Wall Street Journal reported. Teens are the fastest-growing online audience, the company said in a statement.

“Teens have told us they want their own online service, distinct from their parents ,” said Malcolm Bird, senior vice president. An analyst with Forrester Research, Charlotte Li, said she has tested Red and thinks it s a good product. She added AOL hopes the service will be a reason families will stay with the service even though they might want to switch providers or move to high-speed access.

INTO THE MATRIX

Tennessee officials are considering joining Matrix, the federally funded crime and terrorism database that links six states but has drawn privacy objections.

Matrix combines records submitted by its member states with billions of files owned by Seisint Inc. Law enforcement officials describe it as a search engine that steers them swiftly through public information about suspects that they otherwise would have to get from disparate sources.

But privacy activists and some state officials say Matrix gives law enforcement unprecedented power to see data on people with no criminal histories. Opponents also say it might perform some of the proactive analysis that led to an outcry over the Pentagon s plans for a national terrorism data program.

Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are Matrix members. Seven other states have dropped out due to privacy or cost concerns, but The Associated Press reported last week that at least five other states might join.

DIGITAL BABIES

Japan s popular digital pet from the 1990s is coming back. And this time Tamagotchi will be able to date, fall in love and even have babies.

Launched in 1996 but discontinued in 1998, Tamagotchi was an egg-shaped, pocket-sized gadget with a cartoon pet that appeared on a screen. Owners reared it by punching buttons that would feed the creature, play games with it or groom it. In time, the pet “grew” from an infant into a virtual adulthood, and better players could make it live longer.

The new, souped-up Tamagotchi Plus goes on sale in Japan on March 20 for 1,980 yen ($19), and will be introduced overseas this summer.

It will be able to communicate with other digital pets through infrared signals, and owners can have them compete in eating contests or give flowers and other presents.

GOOD LOOKING

Microsoft countered search king Google last month with the North American launch of the beta version of the MSN Toolbar, which allows users to search from a small window on the browser.

The toolbar also includes shortcuts to other Microsoft services, a pop-up ad blocker and a highlight viewer tool. Top U.S. Internet searches according to comScore:

• 1. Google - 35 percent

• 2. Yahoo - 28 percent

• 3. MSN - 15 percent

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FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM



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