Personals get less costly

Personals get less costly

Compiled by Rick House

Citing customer complaints, Yahoo Inc. will soon drop a fee it began charging in October to people who want to place enhanced personal advertisements on its online dating service.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., Web portal will continue to charge a separate $19.95 monthly fee to people who want to respond to ads.

Yahoo’s decision to drop the $4.95 fee counters the trend among Internet firms of charging for services that were free.

Yahoo’s fee allows those in search of soulmates to add enhanced features, such as multiple photos, to their personals. The fee also gives these ads priority over regular ads, which are free.

But people browsing Yahoo’s personals didn’t like the fact that the same enhanced ads were at the top of the list, often for days at a time, according to Katie Burke Mitic, general manager of Yahoo Personals. Users found it annoying to have to scroll through the enhanced ads to get to the regular ads.

Battle of the biggies

Microsoft Corp. is launching a new advertising campaign to persuade America Online customers to switch their Internet service to Microsoft Network.

Starting Tuesday, MSN will offer $50 rebates and a month’s free service with a 12-month contract for those who change from AOL. It also is touting a new service that makes it easier to switch over a customer’s address book and calendar, and even cancel AOL service.

Online auction police

The auction site eBay.com said this month that it has hired VeriSign Inc. to take over registration of new sellers, starting next month. EBay is trying to deal with fraudulent sellers by verifying more information about them. When new sellers register on the site, VeriSign will compare their names and addresses against offline telephone and address databases, the companies said.

Copyright 2002 Cowles Publishing Company

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