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crazy4wdw
03-13-2007, 06:45 AM
Disney to launch Web site for parents

Gary Gentile | Associated Press
Posted March 13, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- The Walt Disney Co. is launching a new Web site aimed at moms who are increasingly turning to the Internet for answers to everything from problems with teething babies to financing college.

The new site, Disney Family, is a departure for the media conglomerate, which has primarily launched Web efforts to promote its own brands and products, keeping strict control over content and presentation.

By contrast, the new site is a one-stop site for parents, especially mothers, providing everything from Internet search capability to user-generated articles on key topics such as education and food, and, eventually, a ParentPedia, a compilation of information on 1,000 topics that can be expanded by users.

The site, to be announced today in Los Angeles, will go live later this week at family.com and remain in beta, or testing, stages until the summer, said Paul Yanover, executive vice president of Disney Online, a unit of the Walt Disney Internet Group.

Disney hopes to make money from selling advertising and from sponsored search, text ads that appear next to search results.

The launch marks Disney's second big Web announcement since it revamped its main Disney.com site in January to include more video, games and interactive features.

"This is uncharacteristically good," said principal analyst Josh Bernoff of Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research.

"To get community right, you need to have the right mix between homegrown content plus the ability to loop in people and content from outside. That takes guts because you don't really know what users are going to say. It's uncharacteristic for a company that wants to control things as much as Disney," he said.

Yanover said the openness of the site is what the more than 30,000 mothers surveyed over the past year said they wanted, along with trusted content vouched for by Disney.

"We want to be clear that 'Disney' does not necessarily mean Disney-branded products and services," Yanover said. "It means Disney as a reliable brand. We don't just want to push Disney products."