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Surviving Among Instant Messaging Giants... PalTalk

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, November 21, 2002

Instant messaging becomes instant dating. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. A company called PalTalk has managed to survive as an instant messaging company among the giants ... .AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo... .for years. Founder and CEO Jason Katz... .says the secret has been to create online communities that use voice and video along with text...

"There is every possible, conceivable topic on PalTalk. There are other languages being spoken, there are music rooms and people singing, live, that you can listen to. There are discussions about the stock market if you want to hear that."

Most of PalTalk's services are free to use... but only subscribers who pay 25 dollars a year can view video online. The company also plans to charge for a new online dating service... .that can instantly link users with a potential match... for a ten minute online rendezvous. One of PalTalk's advantages is ... it allows users to connect with their AOL buddy lists ...

"One of the things we're moving on that we feel strongly about is that instant messaging as a platform has to interoperate. You don't pick up the telephone with AT&T and not be able to call Sprint."

The company does not have AOL's blessing for the interoperability... but Katz says so far, it still works and the plan is to add interoperability with Microsoft's instant messenger as well. About the future... Katz says he is confident...

" Internet connections are at every business, computers are at every business. This is going to be the way people conference eventually."

Which may be why AOL is looking at corporate instant messaging as a whole new business. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.