CMGI jumps into the fray

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One could argue that 1999 was the Year of CMGI. Once a college-market direct-response company, CMGI, headed by Chairman-CEO David Wetherell, now claims nearly 50 Web-related companies, including those in which it holds a majority ownership or has invested in via its venture-capital affiliate, @Ventures.

On top of its acquisitions of ad-serving companies (see story below), CMGI bought Internet access provider Corp. and, through subsidiary Engage Technologies, acquired I/PRO, a Web-site measurement, analysis and auditing services company. CMGI also bought Activerse, which provides instant messaging and chat services, and Cha! Technologies, an Internet payment services company. Last week, it agreed to buy e-mail marketer YesMail.

Despite CMGI's high profile, key competitor DoubleClick remains unfazed. "One of us will be more successful than the other and I think we have a big lead," says Jeff Epstein, exec VP-mergers and acquisitions at DoubleClick. Still, CMGI shows no signs of slowing down in its quest to dominate the Internet market.

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