Media push propels Lycos' fast growth in Korean Internet market

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SEOUL--Internet portal company Lycos has averaged two million hits daily since opening in Korea July 1, setting a company record.

"To give you an indication of how fast we're moving, it took Yahoo Korea six months to achieve the one million mark. But they started in 1997 ... We've already surpassed AltaVista Korea, whichstarted a year and a half ago," says Gilbert Kim, business development director for Lycos Korea.

Lycos credits its success to an aggressive media campaign. "Lycos is well known among people who know the Internet, but not among the public ... We came in with really high goals and started from day one," says Mr. Kim.

TV commercials produced by Leo Burnett Co. for the U.S. market and dubbed into Korean feature the Lycos mascot, a black Labrador retriever. The dog is shown cue cards with "search" words and the dog fetches outlandish things like dinosaur bones and a car.

Koreans often think Lycos is the dog's name, but it is actually the name of a nocturnal wolf spider known for aggressively going after its prey rather than passively waiting for it, says Mr. Kim. Other ads were done by Korea's Sonyon Advertising Agency.

Tripod Korea, a subsidiary of Lycos that offers Web page building facilities, has also broken its worldwide record of new customers. More than 90,000 have registered on the Web site since it opened Aug. 2.

The company will spend $1.5 million on advertising from now through next June. Lycos says it has seen comparable growth in European countries.

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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