NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2000 - UltraStar Internet Services, LLC, the pioneering Internet company co-founded by rock legend David Bowie, has chosen Silicon Valley startup, The WeTalk Network, Inc., for the creation of its celebrity-based online communities.
The strategic partnership means that WeTalk technology and methodology will power UltraStar's discussion boards, chat rooms, and other community spaces for fans of Bowie and other soon-to-be-announced celebrity musical groups as well as sports franchises such as the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.
"WeTalk has the technology platform and the methodology that will allow us to build the kinds of communities our celebrity clients want and respect. WeTalk's technology and community-building expertise makes them a leader in the industry," said Bob Goodale, President, UltraStar. "The long-term value of fan loyalty and support is vital to entertainers and sports figures who are constantly in the public eye. Therefore, Web sites dedicated to these properties and their online fan clubs must create virtual communities where affinity groups can get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities and fellow fans. Our alliance with WeTalk will help us to achieve this goal."
For its part, WeTalk sees the relationship as important for a number of reasons. "The validation of our technology platform, our product features, and our methodology is very gratifying. On top of this, we are extremely honored to enter into a partnership with a musician of David Bowie's stature and technological savvy," WeTalk Chairman and founder Dan Shafer said, "We are looking forward to working with the extremely talented UltraStar team and the Company's impressive client list."
The WeTalk Network was founded in the spring of 1998 to "do online community right." Shafer, who helped build Salon.com's famous Table Talk discussion forums from the ground up and then repeated that feat as the community manager and editorial director of CNET's Web building division by creating the Builder Buzz area, was first driven by a passionate vision of how online community could work. WeTalk communities are rich places for discussion because WeTalk provides its customers with tools for moderation, user incentives, and personalization. WeTalk communities allow their members a high degree of customization so users see only what they want to see and can focus their discussion energies where their interests are strongest.
As a network, WeTalk will operate two kinds of sites: its own branded communities covering sports, politics, music, health, and other broad areas of consumer interest; and affiliates such as those developed in conjunction with UltraStar and its clients. Affiliate sites have access to the technology platform and methodology created by WeTalk's world-class development team and to the community expertise and experience Shafer and other members of the team bring to bear. In return, affiliates pay an annual licensing fee and can leverage the power of the WeTalk Network and "TalkingPoints" on their sites.
The first WeTalk branded community will open in January. Bowie's site, complete with the WeTalk community, is also slated for launch within 90 days.
About The WeTalk Network, Inc.Headquartered in San Mateo, California, The WeTalk Network, Inc. is a privately held company, pioneering high quality online community. The WeTalk Network community sites are designed to give people with a passionate common interest an engaging and exciting online home-base for intelligent, moderated discussions. Active participants adding editorial value are rewarded for their contributions, and members can customize their participation for an insightful and stimulating online community experience. For more information on The WeTalk Network see www.wetalknetwork.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-632-TALK.
About UltraStar Internet Services, LLC
UltraStar is an exclusive affinity group Internet company with a subscription-based revenue model targeting entertainment, sports, fashion and other niche specific passion groups. The company specializes in developing web-based content, community and commerce sites and in offering niche-targeted subscriptions and ISPs. Its current roster of projects includes BowieNet, YankeesXtreme and OriolesWorld. In first quarter 2000, UltraStar will announce additional entertainment, music and sports related subscription services to be launched during the year.
UltraStar launched BowieNet, its first subscription-based online fan club and ISP, in September 1998. Claimed the "coolest ISP on the planet" by Ziff-Davis, BowieNet offers uncensored Internet access along with extensive proprietary content for David Bowie and other music fans.
In summer 1999, Bowie's UltraStar teamed up with the World Champion New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles to announce plans to create the teams' official web sites, premium online fan clubs and team-branded ISPs. With the launch of YankeesXtreme and Orioles World, UltraStar will create two global Internet networks that significantly enhance the interaction between team players / clubs and their fans, creating an entirely new business model for baseball sports marketing.
Note to Editors: WeTalk and The WeTalk Network are trademarks of The WeTalk Network, Inc. All other brands and products referenced herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
Naomi Pearce, 510/528-0824