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FEATURE / August 4, 1997

Dissertations, Divination, and Divorce

By Richard Martin

As a neophyte Web consumer, it took me only a few weeks to develop an ironclad online philosophy: Ask not what I can do on the Web, I say; ask what the Web can do for me.

With that in mind, I recently went in search of the coolest, most valuable, or most interesting services I could find on the Internet, for free or for pay. What follows is a brief, highly unscientific survey of my findings.


Ad Astra

On to more important topics, like the stars. Of the more than 3,000 astrology Web sites out there, I lighted on, the online version of the Astrology Shop in London's fashionable Covent Garden district. Launched in January 1997 by Robert Currey, one of the United Kingdom's most sought-after astrologers, the Astrology Shop offers a range of horoscopes, including a Birth Chart, a Character Portrait, a Year Forecast, a Psychological Horoscope, and a Relationship Horoscope.

"I started in 1981 as an astrological consultant," Currey reported from London via e-mail, "and I became increasingly involved in applying astrological techniques to computer software. In the early '80s I wrote my own program and text to interpret horoscopes."

The Web site was thus a natural outgrowth of Currey's software and retail businesses. Customers simply e-mail their date, time, and place of birth (plus their credit card number), and receive the horoscope in a printed and bound edition in three to five days by post. The Character Portrait costs 16 (about US$25), while the Year Forecast costs 18 ($30). Currey says he's received about 2,000 orders so far over the Web, and the site has some 20,000 visits per week.

"Most astrology Web sites are offering Sun sign readings, which you could easily obtain from any newspaper," Currey pointed out. "We don't bother with that: each reading is based on the time, date, and place of birth."


Richard Martin is a writer for PreText, a multimedia content and design company in Seattle, Washington.

Related Links

The Astrology Shop:

1997 Microsoft Corporation. [Extract from a larger article from Microsoft home pages re-printed with thanks.]