Excite has beaten rivals Lycos, Yahoo! and Infoseek to win a strategic partnership with Netscape. It will provide its search engine for Netscape's home page, Netcenter, and be responsible for building and selling advertising on a number of new channel pages on Netcenter, including Arts and Leisure, Auctions, Autos, Classifieds, Education, Games, Lifestyles, Real Estate and Shopping. These pages will be co-branded and the advertising revenues shared between Netscape and Excite.
Excite will also provide its Jango product search technology for the Netcenter Shopping channel. Jango searches for a product across shopping sites and finds the cheapest deal for the customer. Classifieds2000, an Excite subsidiary that specialises in online classified advertisements, will become Netcenter's preferred supplier of classified advertising.
The deal will be beneficial to both companies. Netscape is looking to capitalise on Netcenter's position as one of the most heavily used "portal" sites on the Web. In the past, the company has relied on the fact that people rarely change the default home page in their browser, and go to Netcenter every time they log on. Now it wants to keep people on the site, and the branded search page will help to do that, as will a free Email service and increased content.
Excite will pay $70 million (#42 million) to Netscape, which it estimates represents about 70% of the new advertising revenues it hopes to generate through Netcenter over the next two years. Under the agreement, Excite will win 50% of all search traffic that passes through Netcenter in the first year. Excite claims this will give it exposure to more than 60% of Internet users, a larger figure than the industry leader, Yahoo!, holds at the moment.
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