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You Are What URL

Free hosting, instant chat, do-it-yourself domain name registration

This story appears in the January 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Do you get what you pay for with free Web site hosting by companies like Angelfire (, HyperMart ( and ( Critics argue you won't look like a serious , that the domain name is cumbersome to use, and that the ads placed on your site are intrusive. But satisfied customers insist the price is right for testing the waters, the community is excellent for networking, and extra attention to service can reassure customers your business is no fly-by-night operation.

Free often means obscure URLs that are difficult for customers to remember and awkward to write on . Paul Brown, 28, founder of Free Information Resources, hosts his site with Angelfire; his URL reads The long name isn't a problem, Brown contends: "The bottom line in business is offering something of value and delivering what you promise. Where your Web site is hosted is a lot less important than what you can do for your customers."

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