Channel 7 ponders domain future

The domain name is held by the online joint venture between Channel 7 and the Australian Olympic Committee, www.olympics.com.au, which has proved a popular website for Australian sports fans.

Officials would not disclose when the joint agreement for the domain name is due to expire, but reports have indicated the partnership is "long term".

"Olympics.com.au will certainly stay this year . . .we will assess its purpose in between [Olympic] Games," said Grant Dempsey, chief operating officer of i7.

According to reports, the partnership between Channel 7 and the AOC is hoped to build similar alliances between broadcasters and National Olympic Committees worldwide, where the organisations will act jointly as internet providers.

Dempsey said, the olympics.com.au site, which went live in July, has attracted more traffic than expected, but is coping with the additional load and performing well.

Built on the Vignette internet platform, the site was designed by Vignette partner, HotHouse Interactive in a six-week turnaround period.

Vignette was the platform of choice for most of i7's sites, which could grow to as many as 40, Dempsey noted.

"There are not too many platforms that have content management systems," he said.

The ability to handle content management without the assistance of tech support and from remote locations, due to browser-based nature of the system, was a bonus for i7, Dempsey added. "Because we started at ground zero, we need something very scalable".

In addition to i7 sites adopting Vignette, many of Channel 7's partners who have joined the i7 network have also opted for Vignette, Dempsey said.

Meanwhile, despite the heavy traffic coming to the site, olympics.com.au is not Vignette's biggest site to date, admitted Allan Bagley, country manager for Vignette Australia.

"It's probably the biggest traffic on [Vignette-powered websites] in Australia," Bagley said. "But it's relatively small in an international sense. We have a large number of high traffic sites in the US -- including iWON.com, ZDNet, and CNET -- and Europe," he added.

Channel 7 has broadcasting and internet rights for future Olympic Games until 2008.

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