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Web site customization

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This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

The first time surfers visit Arepa.com, they see more than 100software applications, games and other digital content they canstream and run over high-speed Internet connections. If they rentanything, the next time they hit the site, they're immediatelyushered into the "My Titles" page. Here they're showntheir rental history without the now-irrelevant main-pageinformation.

The idea, says Ric Folup, the 24-year-old founder of Cambridge,Massachusetts-based Arepa Inc., is to increase convenience andpurchases by providing every user with a personalized view. Manydot.coms, such as Amazon.com, CDNow, Excite and Yahoo!, areemploying similar tricks in hopes of quickly giving users what theywant, distinguishing themselves from the competition and, ofcourse, increasing sales. It appears to work: Excite, for instance,reports that customization has quintupled its number of repeatcustomers.

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