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MSN Groups Fact Sheet

MSN Groups
http://communities.msn.com/
Fact Sheet
July 2002

What: The MSN® Groups online service enables customers to quickly and easily customize their own secure place on the Web to make the Web more useful for them. Individuals or groups can share ideas and information, stay in touch with family and friends, and meet others with common interests using MSN Groups. Customers can design their own free* Web site on almost any topic imaginable, or browse a list of sites created by others and join those that interest them. It only takes a few simple steps to create a new community. MSN Groups can be public open to anyone and listed in a community directory or private, with new members added by invitation only. By applying leading-edge technologies and innovations to make the Web more interactive, personal and customizable, MSN Groups demonstrates the MSN commitment to making MSN the most useful place on the Web.

Features:

Customizable home page. Customers can create a visually distinct, personalized home page for their site through rich-text editing.** They can easily insert photos, clip art and custom links without having to know HTML. Familiar toolbars and buttons allow users to work with multiple fonts, colors and text sizes, which make creating home pages as simple as writing a letter on a word processor.

Whats New page. Whats New shows visitors and members the latest activity on the site. Whats New also hosts a welcome message, links for customers to recommend the community to others or invite them to join, and a list of community tools. With the Whats New page, visitors can get a quick sense of what the community is like and what kind of activity takes place there.

Customized lists. Consumers can easily share and organize information by using list templates. These can be customized to enable customers to track favorite Web links, member phone numbers or other community-related data. Lists can be sorted by field, displayed in list or detail view, and reorganized based on user preference. The Community Recommendation templates, for example, contain member-recommended books, CDs, videos and links.

Helpers. Once a list is created on an MSN Group, the Helper simplifies changing the settings or the columns in several ways, enabling the customer to rename or delete them, or change their order. For example, if additional columns are needed, the customer can simply click Add Column, and the Helper will guide the user through the process.

Message boards. As the interaction hub within Groups, message boards allow customers to post messages, files and Web site links. Familiar toolbars and buttons make it easy to create messages with multiple fonts, colors, text sizes and custom links. Message boards have two view options: standard and a threaded view. Also, consumers can recommend a message to others by marking it with the Recommend icon, and once it is recommended, others can add to the count.

Chat. Customers can interact in real time with other registered customers in a private community chat room.

Flexibility of pages. MSN Groups offers customers the flexibility to decide which building blocks are included in their site and how they are presented. For example, the creator of a soccer team Web site might add pages to the sites main navigational links, such as information on joining the team or upcoming events. Another site may include a list of important contacts or topics in the main navigation area. A third site may have three message boards but no chat room. Customers now have options to include whats important for their own MSN Group.

Rich HTML Web pages. MSN Groups allows customers to create free-form HTML pages so they can use and share richly formatted information on the Web. Multiple, customized Web pages can be created through the rich-text editing without any knowledge of HTML required on the customers part.

Photo Uploader. This feature greatly simplifies the process of adding pictures to a Web site. The Photo Uploader can save customers time by enabling them to upload several photos at once,*** automatically creating a thumbnail of each picture while allowing customers to continue to interact with the community. Each photo can be titled individually for easy identification.

Free storage. MSN Groups offers 3 MB of free storage, which enables everyone to make the Web interactive, personal and customizable.

Extra Storage. One of the goals of MSN is to provide consumers with flexible services to meet a variety of needs. In keeping with this goal, consumers may purchase MSN Extra Storage, which offers 10 MB of MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service storage space and 30 MB of MSN Groups storage space for $19.95 a year.

Personalized e-mail notification. With just one click of the mouse, consumers can send e-mail to other members of an MSN Group. They can also choose to receive automatic, personalized e-mail updates from MSN when there is new activity such as when new members join, or there are new messages to read or new photos to view on any of the sites they belong to.

Mailing list. Members can send e-mail to and receive e-mail from their MSN Groups. E-mail can be sent to a community and posted to the message board, and replies via e-mail will automatically be associated with the correct discussion. Customers can also choose to receive postings via e-mail in individual or daily digest form.

Community rating system. This system helps protect people from unknowingly entering a community that contains adult content. When a community is created, the site manager must rate the site based on its content. If parents have installed software that prevents their children from accessing adult-rated Web sites, they will be shown a warning page alerting them to the content, and the children will be blocked from accessing the site.

International Groups. Groups can be created in 24 languages, and customized customer interfaces tailored to specific geographical regions are planned for 30 international markets.

Integration With MSN Explorer: When MSN Explorer is used, MSN Groups has even further integration. By customizing the My Stuff bar, customers can add My Files to get easy access to files they have stored on the Web and can add My Groups to quickly access the Web sites they have created or to which they belong.

Availability: MSN Groups is available at http://communities.msn.com/ .

* Connect-time charges may apply.

** Rich-text editing is available only for Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4 or higher browser software; other browsers support HTML text editing only.

*** Multiple-photo uploading is available only for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or higher browser software; other browsers support single-photo uploading only.

Microsoft, MSN and Hotmail are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


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