Netscape has signed up another partner for its Netcenter portal site. Infospace will provide 'white pages' and 'yellow pages' directory services, both companies announced on Thursday.
The deal comes two days after the official launch of Netcenter 2.0, the revamped Netscape site. Netcenter 2.0 sports 17 content sections (or 'channels'), co-branded with Excite, which also provides the site?s search engine.
However, some important parts of Netcenter are still missing. The free email service and the 'My Netscape' personalised home page are not yet operational.
The new white and yellow pages are integrated with each other and with other features. This will allow a user to, for instance, first find a friend?s address in the white pages, then get driving directions to get there, and find the flower store nearest to that address.
Netscape and Infospace hope to turn the telephone directory into more than just a service to users. They are also trying to attract advertisers. Businesses will be able to get a larger listing, or add an advertisement, a link to their home page or a coupon.
Infospace was founded in 1996 in Microsoft?s home town of Redmond, Washington. Infospace has its own portal-like site, 'www.infospace.com'. But its main focus has been on aggregating content from different white and yellow pages providers.
Netscape investors appeared to be happy with the move, sending the company's stock up by more than 15 per cent to close at $41.31 (up from barely $16 in March).
However, this sudden rise may have more to do with reports that Netscape is negotiating with some major media companies including Disney and the Fox network.
In recent weeks, Disney has bought a 43 per cent stake in portal site Infoseek, while NBC took a 19 per cent share of Cnet?s Snap portal and America Online reportedly rebuffed a $19 billion buyout offer from AT&T. The moves prompted excitement on Wall Street, with investors expecting more large media companies to buy into the hot portal market.
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