AOL Launches Latino Portal

As part of its transition to a free, advertising-based community of Internet services, AOL is targeting the U.S. Hispanic market with AOL Latino, a new Spanish-language portal while offers a wide range of AOL’s core Internet services—email, instant messaging, antivirus, spam controls, blogs, photo sharing, calendars, and more—as well as Spanish-language content and original online programming.

"U.S. Hispanic Internet users are the fastest-growing community online, and what better way to tap into them than with a new free portal," said Ralph Rivera, AOL Latino’s VP General Manager, in a statement. "With original, exclusive content and the best online features available in Spanish, AOL Latino is a dynamic resource for U.S. Hispanics."

Key features of AOL Latino available at launch include Spanish language AOL email (with antivirus and spam protection), digital photo service (AOL Latino Fotos), message boards, and personalized blogs. The service also touts an English-language search engine which provides multimedia results; AOL says AOL Latino will soon offer Spanish-language Parental Controls. The AOL Latino portal also pulls together headlines from leading U.S. and Latin American news outlets, including the Associated Press, Notimex, and EFE, as well as exclusive musical performances and "comprehensive programming" relevant to U.S. Latinos including news, sports, personal finance, health, autos, fashion and beauty, home decor, and astrology. The AOL Latino community Tu Gente is also integrated throughout the portal, offering access to user message boards, chats, and blogs.

"This launch represents another phase in the evolution of the U.S. Web portal and extends our effort to efficiently leverage our Web products, content, communities and services in a context that brings the most value to different segments of our users who share common languages and cultural bonds," said AOL Senior VP David Liu.

A service of the portal which is sure to make some Hispanics feel welcome and included? A front-page link to free English lessons. Even better, it spits up a "page not found" error when users click a link to find out if the course is really 100 percent free. Buena suerte, amigos.

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