Education Web site with human touch

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 12:00am

A group of Internet entrepreneurs and marketing professionals educated at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an educational portal site.

The site employs 'human guides' to lead Internet users to selected topics.

Launched in January, is different from other portal sites.

It has introduced human- guided content, geared towards a young generation of Chinese students with a user-friendly and student-oriented community site. This will help students to communicate with each other.

Philip Mok, Chief Operating Officer of and a postgraduate from MIT said the educational site was different from others because it has an added human element.

The human element was to employ 'guides' to lead Internet users to search information and build up links.

The guides are specialists in different areas ranging from sport and rock and roll music to producing interesting materials and links for students.

They are also responsible for maintaining their sites.

This includes writing original materials and describing and links to relevant sites, interacting with members and promoting their sites.

'Ordinary search engines are for people do searches based on key words. But our guides help them search for information,' he said.

The guides get commission based on the traffic their sites generate. They also get a share of the advertising revenue.

This creates a powerful incentive for the guides to bring traffic to their own part of the site, as well as to produce attractive materials, Mr Mok said.

'We plan to recruit around 700 Web guides within this year. This is to enrich our materials and increase the number of people viewing our Web site,' he said.

Mr Mok said they developed an educational portal site because they found the market was huge and their background would give them an advantage.

'We're young and energetic. We're familiar with education and fond of campus life. That's why we're interested in developing an educational portal targeting young people.' 'The education market in the mainland is huge because China has four million university students, ' he said.