Netscape has announced that it will buy Web site service and promotion company Atweb, in a bid to strengthen its small business offering.
Netscape will integrate Atweb?s suite of online products and services into the small business channel of its Netcenter portal site, to offer automated Web site promotion and maintenance for small businesses and independent Web publishers.
With 600,000 registered users, the acquisition of Atweb will give the portal a huge boost in the race with Yahoo, Excite and MSN to be the most popular gateway to the Web.
The acquisition closely follows Microsoft?s purchase of Net advertising firm Linkexchange (see Newswire 5 November), and shows the growing trend for portal sites to add ecommerce services that target small businesses, one of the few areas left for them to differentiate themselves.
Web sites that sign up with Atweb?s Register-It site registration service will automatically be enrolled into Netcenter, linking them with Netscape Search, Directory and Smart Browsing features.
The company said this is the first in a new series of strategic initiatives to strengthen the portal.
Atweb will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary within the Netcenter division, and Netscape plans to expand the Atweb family to offer such services as an ecommerce affiliate program and a banner advertisement exchange.
?Netscape?s acquisition of Atweb further expands Netcenter into a network that links individuals and businesses around the world," said Mike Homer, executive vice president and general manager of Netscape's Netcenter division.
?With the integration of Atweb technology and services, Netcenter will be able to further empower small businesses and independent Web publishers with the tools they need to create the most effective Web presence possible.?
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