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PRESS ARTICLE - BYU NEWSNET  (view original article)

Web Site Helps Friends Maintain Connection

By Cheryl Catts, NewsNet Staff Writer, 12 April 2004

With graduation approaching, many people are making vows to keep in touch with friends. Promises are made not only to friends from school, but mission buddies, business associations and romantic interests.

"I think communications and keeping connected is very important, but it is never more important than in a community like the LDS community," said Jed Dempsey, founder and CEO of LDS LinkUp.

Dempsey started a Web site, among the sea of LDS dating sites that offers people the opportunity to maintain connections with others around the world.

The site, which has grown entirely by word of mouth, has thousands of members in more than 30 countries around the world.

"It's a lot of fun to be on there," said Kaari Jacobs, LDS LinkUp community liaison. "It's fun for everyone, it's not just a dating site, it's not just for married people."

Jacobs was the first person to ever register on the site and has seen it grow since its introduction in late 2003.

"It helps to get everyone together in a community that is really connected offline," she said.

Jacobs said the suggestion is often made that the world is connected by six degrees of separation, but she said in the LDS community it seems more like two.

LDS LinkUp offers e-mail, discussion boards and search tools to get in touch with other LDS people around the world.

The site is a great application of the Internet, Dempsey said.

"It is a business that has a lot of potential value for the Mormon community, in particular, to help them make better use of the affinity that the Mormon community has for itself," he said.

A similar site was started for the Jewish community by LDS LinkUp's parent company, Who New LLC. It has received a good response, said Amy Guggenheim Shenkan, marketing and business development adviser for Who New LLC.

"The worry is gone, and now it's just a matter of needing to get the word out to people," Shenkan said.

Dempsey said there is a demand for this kind of networking communication, based on the response he has seen.

"It has exceeded my expectations," Jacobs said. She said she has received an overwhelming response from her friends.

Users of the site are described as "passionate," Dempsey said. Approximately 15 percent visit the site daily and people spend an average of one hour on it.

It makes it easier to communicate because once you find them you can keep track of them, Dempsey said.

The site is free right now, while it is in a trial period. Dempsey said the basic service will remain free, and new features are being added.

Additional information can be found at www.ldslinkup.com.

View the original article.



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