PeopleLink and GTE Bring Integrated Online Communication Services to Internet Subscribers

GTE Instant Messaging powered by PeopleLink lets Internet subscribers network online in real time either one-on-one or in customized communities.

LOS ANGELES, DALLAS -- PeopleLink, the leading outsource provider for online community-based communications services, and GTE, a leading national Internet service provider, have announced a co-marketing agreement that brings added benefit to subscribers to GTE's Internet services. Subscribers to GTE's Internet services can now communicate online in real time using GTE Instant Messaging. This free, easy-to-use desktop application lets people expand their online communications network with other people who share similar skills, interests and affiliations. Users can message anyone who has GTE Instant Messaging, regardless of computer platform.

This marketing agreement places Instant Messaging within easy reach of GTE's growing Internet subscription base as an integrated feature on GTE.net's homepage at www.gte.net. GTE Instant Messaging is also accessible to customers through the co-branded Web site www.peoplelink.com/comnet/gte. Customers download the software application, complete the registration, receive a password, and in minutes are provided with a simple and safe way to communicate online in real time.

    GTE Instant Messaging expands communication capabilities by providing these features:

  • Community Directory- search for people by criteria you select.
  • iGroups - communicate with groups of people who share a specific interest.

  • PeopleLink Network Partners - access customized Community Directories and join their iGroups (interest groups).
  • User Profile - create a public profile so people can connect with you.
  • "As one of the nation's largest Internet service providers, GTE constantly works to provide our subscribers with a variety of innovative ways to communicate with one another and to get the most from their online experience," said Alex Coleman, vice president and general manager for GTE's consumer and small business Internet services. "GTE Instant Messaging adds another communications choice to our existing services which include, POP mail, free Web mail, and Web-based Chat."

    "With GTE, we continue to pursue our overall goal of bringing people together in a user-friendly way that helps them connect with others who share common interests and ideas," said Steve Glenn, founder and CEO of PeopleLink. "PeopleLink's integrated suite of community communications services enables one-on-one and group communications capabilities, either in real time or through e-mail."

    From 150,000 members in the beginning of January 1998, PeopleLink's registered user base has risen over thirteen hundred percent in less than 13 months. The addition of over two million new members this year has been fueled by the popularity of PeopleLink's new Community Directory and iGroups, as well as the company's recent partnerships with companies such as Compaq, Bolt, Concentric, iVillage, NetTaxi, StarMedia and Thrustmaster.

    With over 1300 iGroups, or interest groups, PeopleLink gives people a way to connect and communicate based on specific topics. iGroup subjects include every interest and hobby, from movies and alternative music to photography, woodworking, politics and jokes.

    About GTE's Internet services

    GTE's Internet services group, a business unit of GTE, was launched in 1996 to provide dial-up Internet access for residential and small business customers. With more than 700 local points of presence nation-wide, its customer base has grown from 70,000 to over 850,000 subscribers. This growth was driven by GTE's continued success in bundling consumer Internet access with other communications services, as well as the company's success in leveraging distribution relationships with computer manufacturers such as Compaq, Hewlett-Packard Company, Dell Computer, Sony Electronics Inc., Recompute, and Acer.

    About GTE

    With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. More information about GTE is available on the World Wide Web at www.gte.com.

    About PeopleLink, Inc.

    Established in 1996 by idealab! and funded by AT&T; Ventures, PeopleLink has quickly become the largest outsourced provider of complete community communications services to Web sites, ISPs and online businesses. To date, over
    2 million people have registered for the PeopleLink service, making it one of the largest online communications networks. PeopleLink's partners include Bolt, Compaq, Concentric, Earthlink, Infoseek, iVillage.com, Netcom, Nettaxi, Opera Software, StarMedia, ThrustMaster/Talk-n-Play, UltimateTV, Weber Public Relations Worldwide, and hundreds of others. As part of its outsourcing services, PeopleLink brands its services for partners, handles all operations and technical support, and shares advertising revenue. PeopleLink is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.