January 24, 1999 8:40 PM PST

Netscape to launch user-driven directory

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Hoping to attract users that want a more human touch to their Web searches, Netscape Communications' Netcenter is launching a directory of Web content that is compiled and edited strictly by volunteer Netizens.

The service, called Netscape Open Directory, stems from Netscape's acquisition of Netizen-edited directory NewHoo in November.

Open Directory is similar in concept to the Mining Company, which uses volunteers instead of its own staff to edit, organize, and write about Web sites relating to specific topics. With the site, Netscape hopes the army of volunteer editors will increase the depth of content that can be found on Netcenter.

The service is expected to launch tomorrow.

Netscape plans to integrate directory listings throughout Netcenter, such as through the Communicator browser's smart browsing results, My Netscape personalized pages, and other Netcenter services. In addition, the directory will allow any user to sign up to become an editor and be added to a growing list that currently numbers roughly 6,000.

The open directory is an extension of Netscape's embrace of so-called freeware, which it endorsed last year when it offered the source code for its Web browser for free and launched the Mozilla.org Web site.

Open Directory developers would not say whether it would be integrated into America Online services once the online giant finalizes its proposed buyout of Netscape.


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