Lycos has decided to throw in the Search Engine/Portal towell and dip into the realm of Social Networking, according to sources. Instead of trying to play catchup with Google, MSN, and Yahoo while trying to carve out a unique identity for the Lycos.com site, they’ve decided to go the way of Friendster, Meetup.com and Google’s Orkut (been invited yet? if not email me).
Lycos still is a network of top publishers and sites to be reckoned with; Wired, Matchmaker, Tripod, Hotbot and Gamesville. So, I don’t think they’re out for the count. Actually, I believe this is a good move and possibly the right direction at the right time.
Social Networking has been sitting on the corner of the Buzz Cliff, waiting to be named the Internet’s most exciting new trend. Friendster has made the Internet a new realm for finding likely people to make friends with while Meetup.com has been the top outlet for actually getting together groups of these friends (made popular by the Dean campaign’s early days). Add a dash of online dating, blogs, job search and spread this over the existing Lycos Network and memberbase, and you’ve got a powerful player. Lycos enjoyed the company of 32 million unique visitors to its network last December.
Social networks have been a growing online phenomenon. Currently, there are over 100. There’s been a pronounced lack of consensus whether, or if, there’s a business model in aggregating such communities. Many enthusiasts belong to multiple networks for business, friendship, dating and other purposes. Lycos hopes its large network of sites will attract users who want to join only one online community that offers multiple affinity groups.
Stoever is confident Lycos can platform a dating customer into a subscriber to job, health, finance, family, or other categories Lycos is a player in, as well as encourage them to use the company’s Web services, including site building and Weblogs. “We’re excited by our progress in building a subscription business, but not at expense of advertising,” he said. “We’re building an audience that advertisers want to reach as well.”
Lycos also signed a 5-year deal with 24/7 Real Media to outsource display ad sales, ad serving and analytics for its Internet properties. The base Lycos network ads are driven by Google AdWords contextual text ads. According to sources 24/7 Real Media may be making over $10 million on the deal, and this frees up Lycos time, money, and staff- cutting corners while building their mega-networking outlet.