BT/News International's LineOne online service is being fully revamped with an emphasis on personalisation. After hitting the modest total of 15,000 subscribers, the 20-week-old service will kick off a new version of the service on September 8.
The new service will sport a fresh user interface with agents that will note user preferences and locate members with similar interests and offer links to related sites, breaking news and - another new feature - community chat areas. Users can also get stories mailed to them when they are offline. The agent technology has been developed by Cambridge-based Autonomy Corp.
The UI will be anchored by the Springboard toolbar at the bottom of the site and will play host to LineOne's "about 12" current advertisers. Advertising will be linked to user preferences so that a regular visitor to financial sites is more likely to view ads for a building society, for example.
Pricing has also been reduced form £6.95 to £4.95 per month for the basic three-hour tariff and a free content-only trial will shortly be available. The overall service rate remains at £14.95 per month.
"The new release is more to do with re-addressing the structure rather than adding more content," said Chris Lloyd, LineOne service director. "We've done a lot of learning and we have to put that into action. It's not just about ads and editorial, it's about community and usability."
Lloyd said that despite the advantage of coverage in the Murdoch press, LineOne needs to advertise more heavily. "The difficult thing is to get the message of what we can provide across; we believe that the product is ideally suited to a non-technical audience and very well branded," he said.