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Wotcha! John, got a new Web site?

Stars speak out on Net-based soapbox, maybe

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Celebrities with an axe to grind are being offered the chance to put the record straight with their own virtual soapbox on the Web. Due to be launched in February, Wotcha! (www.wotcha.com) offers free pages to the great and not so good giving them an opportunity to say what they want, when they want it, without any unwanted editorial spin. The brainchild behind the site, Stuart Wilson, admits that it's going to take time to establish the site's credibility, but he's in no doubt that it will happen. "This is an exciting opportunity for celebrities who want a chance to say, in their own words, anything they like, without being misquoted in any way. "Some people call Wotcha! a magazine, but I think of it more like a speakers' corner," he said. But a spokeswoman for The Outside Organisation -- which includes the Spice Girls and David Bowie among its client list -- was sceptical. "It's a nice idea, but I can't see anyone taking it up. If celebs are going to say anything they'll do it on their own Web sites, or through their own agents," she said. "I can't see them using this." Despite this potential setback, Wilson is keen to find new and different applications and actively looks around to see what's not on the Web and then tries to develop a commercial application. He's also hoping that companies -- especially those who don't have a Net presence -- will use the site for promotional purposes too. Using Wotcha! as a temporary base, companies and organisations can get online with minimal investment, Wilson explained. ®

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