Lycos buys Wise Wire, unveils search/directory service

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In a move Lycos hopes will elevate it in the search engine rankings, the company announced April 30 that it is purchasing Wise Wire, a Web directory service that relies on automated users' rankings to categorize listings. Lycos is purchasing Wise Wire for $39.8 million in stock, and will continue to license the directory to noncompetitive sites.

While Lycos has been working with Wise Wire since September 1997, today it formally rolls out an integrated search and directory service, which it hopes will be the No. 1 product in indexing the Web, which is growing exponentially.

The new directory relies on a system of collaborative filtering, in which users rate sites, said Mark Simmer, VP-online media at Lycos. In addition, the new service's technology will eliminate dead links and take users directly to a page within a site with a search result, instead of letting people search every site for relevant material.

Within the new directory service, Lycos has signed up several advertising partners including iVillage, which is sponsoring a women's category. Jan Horsfall, VP-marketing for Lycos is optimistic about the new service. "By July we'll close ground on Yahoo!," he said, "and by the holidays, we'll have a directory two times the size of Yahoo!'s."

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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