Terra Lycos brings Web logs to the big leagues

ITworld.com –

Terra Lycos SA is hoping to bring the growing popularity of Web logs to the big leagues as the first major Web portal to offer users "blogging" tools.

Commonly called "blogs," the diary-like Web postings are a hot trend among vocal Net users who cherish the easy format and instant gratification of seeing their words and pictures immediately published online. But while a number of Web sites and small companies offer Web log services, many of which are free, Terra Lycos' announcement Wednesday that its Tripod Web publishing service will be offering such tools could open the door for other major portals to jump in the fray.

The Spanish portal is kicking off its Web log offerings with the introduction of Tripod Blog Builder, which allows Tripod subscribers to post text, images, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and links to Web pages. Tripod subscription packages range from US$4.95 to $19.95 a month, and offer other features such as domain names, e-mail accounts, storage and design tools.

While free Web log service is already available from smaller providers, Terra Lycos Director Charles Kilby said that his company offers users more storage and bandwidth and can support a growing user base without worrying about its system being overwhelmed. Additionally, the company plans to offer free Web logs to users sometime this year.

"We want to enhance our subscription blog tools before offering basic tools for free," said Michael Sikillian, lead product manager for the Tripod Blog Builder.

In addition to posting capabilities, Blog Builder also offers automatic Web log organization which archives entries by month, date and time and the ability to accept comments from viewers in moderated or open forums. The service is available at http://blog.tripod.lycos.com.

The company hopes that by offering the 33.4 million people who visit Terra Lycos' Tripod and Anglefire Web publishing sites the ability to create Web log communities based on interests, it can increase its subscriber base.

"A lot of people think they have a story to tell, and we want to help them get it out there," Kilby said.

While the ease and flexibility of Web logs has attracted hoards of users who were previously intimidated by the technical challenges of building their own Web sites, other major Web portals have been slow to jump on the "blog" bandwagon. Yahoo Inc., America Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN have yet to introduce that function, although Sikillian believes this could change soon.

As Terra Lycos gets ready to roll out its free Web log offerings, other big name Internet players may add their users' voices to the cacophony, he said.

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