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Some Choose Digital Vanity Plates

January 7, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Are you tired of that boring old e-mail address assigned to you by America Online or Earthlink? Perhaps you want something that reflects your passions, your interests. Perhaps you want an e-mail address with _ dare we say it? _ style.

Now, fans of the rock bands Kiss, Megadeth or performer David Bowie can have that stylish e-mail address by joining the official Internet service providers _ commonly called ISPs _ of the musicians. How do gene(at)kissonline.net or thrasher(at)megadeath.net sound?

``Part of it is being associated with something that means a lot to you, but it’s a lot more than just a vanity license plate,″ said Bob Goodale, a founder of UltraStar in New York, the ISP affiliated with Bowie. ``I think it has a lot of it has to do with community, a community of like-minded people.″

For about $19.95 these ``like-minded″ fans get a custom e-mail address, Web storage as well as members-only access to special content from the performers, such as chat, concert footage and touring schedules.

In addition to Bowie, Kiss and Megadeth, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the alumni association of the University of South Florida and the financial services firm, Vanguard Group, all sponsor vanity ISPs.

The musicians and organizations don’t actually operate the ISP. They market them and provide extra content while contracting out the technical side to existing providers, such as UltraStar.

It’s now relatively simple for an ISP to set up a national network. UltraStar and other companies can set up generic services and then let the famous folks stamp their brand on the service.

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