Lycos buys games site for $207 million

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Lycos last week said it would acquire Gamesville.com, a free game Web site, for $207 million.

The deal, which is expected to be completed before year's end, will add 2.2 million registered users to the Lycos group, increase the time customers spend on a Lycos site by 20% and help the company expand its presence in the online games market, said Lycos President-CEO Bob Davis.

In addition to providing visitors with an opportunity to win cash prizes by competing in TV-style game shows ranging from bingo to auto racing, Gamesville serves as a direct marketer providing targeted advertisements and e-mail offers to users who must fill out a detailed registration form in order to play the games.

Icon Medialab buys Nicholson NY

Icon Medialab International, Stockholm, last week purchased New York interactive agency Nicholson NY in a stock deal valued at approximately $76 million. Icon will issue 817,500 shares of its stock to Nicholson, which will receive an additional payment of 80,000 shares if the interactive agency meets certain sales and profitability goals by 2000.

Nicholson, which has 100 employees, will become the New York base of Icon. With more than 700 employees, Icon has offices in San Francisco, 11 European countries and Asia.

Interpublic Group of Cos. owns a 20% stake in Icon.

Banners drive Web traffic more than TV, radio, print

Banner ads drove more people to Web sites than TV, radio or printed ads, according to a study released last week by Andersen Consulting. In the study, 25% of Internet users said banner ads drove them to shop online, while 14% credited magazine ads; 14% cited TV spots; 11%, radio spots; and 4%, billboards. Andersen's survey of 1,500 Internet users also found that while most Web banners are price-oriented, less than half of Web users said price determined their online purchases. Rather, most respondents said convenience, time savings and site security were more important in their purchasing decisions.

GoTo.com to acquire shopping bot company

GoTo.com, the search engine that sells its listings to advertisers, last week agreed to acquire Cadabra, a company that offers comparison shopping services. GoTo.com agreed to pay $250 million in cash and stock for the company.

AOL partners with Intuit in bill payment program

America Online and financial software company Intuit announced plans to offer an online service to manage household bills. Powered by View and Pay Bills by Quicken, the companies will make the service available across all AOL brands in early 2000.

Under the five-year agreement, Intuit will be the exclusive integrated provider of this bill-tracking and payment service to AOL and AOL.com. The new service will give consumers the ability to view, track and pay all their bills, whether they are issued electronically or as paper bills. Intuit has been the primary source of original programming for the Personal Finance Web Channel on AOL.com since 1998. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Greenfield Consulting launches Digital Idea

Greenfield Consulting launched an Internet consultancy called Digital Idea. Peter Mackey, managing director of Greenfield Consulting Group, was named president of the Westport, Conn.-based company.

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