MSBET Launches Search Engine For Black and Urban Internet Sites

Posted on February 2, 1999

MSBET, the joint venture between Microsoft Corp. and Black Entertainment Television Inc., has announced the launch of Urban Express, a search engine for black and urban Internet sites. Simultaneously, in celebration of the history and culture of African-Americans, MSBET presents its "Hands Across the Net: The Best of African-Americans in Cyberspace" Black History Month campaign, providing links to websites with Black History Month content.

Urban Express is a key element of the redesign of the MSBET website. Urban Express is a Web directory containing a search engine and lists of annotated, rated and editorially reviewed links to sites of interest to African-American and urban-conscious consumers. It operates in a channel format that provides access to information on music, health and news, and BET programming such as Rap City, Planet Groove, BET Tonight and Heart & Soul Magazine.

With Urban Express, users can search the database by keyword, URL, topic, review, editorial or title. A comprehensive system of categories and subcategories helps users narrow the vast selection of Internet resources. MSBET is inviting webmasters to submit their sites to Urban Express for inclusion.

Robert L. Johnson, founder, chairman and CEO of BET Holdings Inc., says in a statement, "We are pleased to unveil this new Internet tool during Black History Mont. Every feature of this site's layout is designed to help users find information on African-Americans in the shortest amount of time, whether it's a list of African-American businesses, a specific Web community or scholarship information. The 'Hands Across the Net' campaign is a tremendous display of solidarity, providing a centralized page enabling visitors to find most of the online content celebrating Black History Month on one page."

Throughout the month of February, the "Hands Across the Net: The Best of African-Americans in Cyberspace" website will feature links to Internet sites that are both informative about and celebratory of African-American history. Each of the participating sites will feature an icon that will serve as a link back to the "Hands Across the Net" website. A site-of-the-day feature, in which sites will be profiled for their Black History Month content, will also be included.

In addition, MSBET will host the official site for the 1999 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards, scheduled for Feb. 14, 1999. It will include special editorial features on the award nominees as well as photographs of and interviews with the winners on the night of the awards.