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Net perceptions is joining a growing roster of companies marketing tools to personalize Web sites.

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based startup launches with customers including, Starwave Corp. and Sabre Technology.

Net Perceptions (http://www. offers software called GroupLens, which helps sites predict consumer preferences and deliver targeted content. For sites that are interested, it's not a cheap investment: Purchasing the software costs at least $47,500.

The company recently netted $4 million in venture funding from Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures and Hummer Winblad. A first round of financing totaling $650,000 came from Hummer Winblad and St. Paul Capital.


Although the net effect for the user is similar to that of Firefly Network (see related story above), Net Perceptions is focused more on helping individual sites customize content than on forming a network.

"Our data is kept segregated under the Web site's control," said Steve Snyder, president-CEO of Net Perceptions. "The Firefly model requires that you belong to the network."

Net Perceptions will observe users' behavior and make inferences about their preferences based on what they do on a particular site. The company has several patents pending for such technology.

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