Freewheeling and uncensored, web logs (blogs for short) are sparking lively and passionate online discussions on just about every conceivable topic.

Part of what marketers call "consumer-generated media," blogs are personal web sites that serve as online diaries and discussion boards. Content is king on blogs, which use free or inexpensive software downloaded from a plethora of internet sites and vendors.

Initially dismissed as lacking credibility or of limited use, blogs quickly became mainstream when presidential candidate Howard Dean used his blog successfully to raise dollars and volunteers.

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