news / press room

Ephibian wins NSA contract

by Tara Teichgraeber
The Business Journal - Phoenix is ditching its early business partners -- those who helped create local mindshare when the portal launched.

A subsidiary of Cox Interactive Media, AccessArizona no longer will host Web sites it designed for a handful of Valley organizations that helped promote the dot-com through various means.

Among those partners are the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Arizona State Fair, Phoenix Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Newsradio KFYI-AM 550 and Xtra Sports-AM 910.

Their sites were basically facing pages for many features and content on AccessArizona, which visitors could link to from a partner's site.

Those organizations recently were alerted that they need to transfer sites to a new host before March 30 "or sooner if possible." A letter sent to the them stated: "A new corporate policy has come into effect that no longer allows us to host, design, and maintain Web sites."

Caroline Stoeckel, marketing manager at AccessArizona said the decision was made because "we're not an ISP."

"That's not what our core business is," she added. "It's not a function of what we do, never has been."

Cox spokeswoman Marleen Burford in Atlanta elaborated. Cox had developed 22 city portal sites nationwide such as AccessArizona and had created as many as 800 Web sites for its early marketing partners.

"But our product has grown so much we can't support them," she said. "Our resources -- servers and people -- need to be focused on building content for our city sites."

Burford said the city sites have doubled revenue every year since inception in 1997.
Asking price

As works out a bankruptcy reorganization plan, the company has decided to start charging all users a service fee -- even the 2 million using it for free, as was initially provided.

Customers received a notice asking them to sign up for one of four payment plans ranging in price from a one-time, $39.95 fee to $3.50 per month for the next two years.

The notice read: "Many new and exciting services are on the horizon as well as a Worldwide campaign to increase our Membership base. We are now able to offer our members these extraordinary savings for a service that is second to none."

Gee, thanks.

The free-stuff-online party definitely is over.

Few voice-over-IP services are free anymore. Visitalk was one of the last free providers.
New direction

Scottsdale-based PageViews is changing its focus after three years as a Web site marketing firm. The company now will focus on search engine optimization services.

Leading the change is new hire Mark Klein from publicly traded in San Diego. Klein also held senior marketing positions with major companies such as Nabisco, Colgate-Palmolive and Avis. He now is a partner in the six-person firm.

PageViews is owned by Terry Mickelson.

New deal

Web integrators Ephibian landed a contract with the National Speakers Association in Tempe to create a new, interactive Web site.

The NSA, with 4,000 members worldwide, wants a virtual community for speakers to learn from each other and exchange information.

Leading the project is Mike Dameron, Ephibian's senior software architect, who will create a "virtual hallway" where members can offer themselves as experts on different topics.

Cyclone Commerce is leasing a new 66,000-square-foot office at the Perimeter Center in Scottsdale near the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Resort.

Cyclone will lease the entire building for its 150 employees, who are planning to move in May 1. The address is 8388 E. Hartford Drive.

The business now is just around the corner at 17767 N. Perimeter Drive.

Cyclone provides a managed system for business-to-business online trading. Clients include Nestle USA, Kraft Foods, Pfizer and Bergen Brunswig.
Bears a'plenty

A new Web site in Gilbert,, is hoping to cash in this Valentine's Day by offering delivered teddy bears or stuffed animals, gift-wrapped with handwritten notes.

Each gift is guaranteed by its "Softness Rating" of one to five paws.

Users of the site also can supply a list of other important dates and people for automatic gift delivery.

For more, visit the Web site at www or call 480-722-9199.
Generation what?

Many of you may be "Generation I" and not even know it.

If you're between ages 13 and 30, and the Internet is "an integral part" of your daily life -- you're Generation i, according to researchers at BlueStone Capital Securities.

But if you fall into Generation X and Generation I, does that mean you're an angst-ridden, lethargic Internet user? Or just that you have a slow modem?