Fortune City starts global spread.

British online community Fortune City (www.fortunecity. com) is setting up a US office as part of a push to become one of the world’s leading media sites.

British online community Fortune City (www.fortunecity. com) is

setting up a US office as part of a push to become one of the world’s

leading media sites.



The company, whose sites are structured as virtual cities, offers members

free web space in subject-themed neighbourhoods in return for accepting

advertising. It will staff its new office with five people, including

managing director Richard Jones.



”Around 45 per cent of the traffic to the main .com site is from the US,”

said head of sales Oliver Harris. ”It makes sense to set up a US office so

that we can offer those people to advertisers.”



Fortune City recently set up new virtual cities in Germany and Sweden, and

Harris claimed that the company currently has more than 200,000 members

and receives around 300,000 unique visitors a day.



”Traffic is doubling every eight weeks,” added Harris. ”At a conservative

estimate, we’re expecting a million members and 1.4 billion page views for

the year. We’re on course to be the only UK-started and UK-funded site to

truly take on the world and go global.”



The company has just signed up online travel operator Travelogix to be its

official travel agent for three years.



Capital Bank, part of the Bank of Scotland, is opening a virtual branch

within Fortune City. ”You can borrow œ15,000 at 12.9 per cent APR if

you’re a Fortune City member,” said Harris, ”or 13.9 per cent if you’re a

non-member: that’s two-to-three per cent lower than most high street

banks. It will be offering savings with preferential interest rates soon,

too.”



Fortune City is also in the process of signing up new music, software and

video retailers, the last of which will be offering videos for sale to the

European market at US prices.



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