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CMGI invests in e-commerce guide Productopia

CMGI's @Ventures III unit will take a $6 million stake in the site, which offers buying guidence to online shoppers.

CMGI is set to announce tomorrow an investment by its venture capital arm in consumer product information site Productopia, the company said.

CMGI's @Ventures III will pump $6 million in an initial round of financing for Productopia, which offers product advice online for items ranging from car seats to CD players.

Based in San Francisco, Productopia was founded in July 1998 by Roger Neal, a former executive director at America Online, and Rob Novotny, previously with Netscape Communications. The company's Web-based product guide in development with partners that include Netscape and AOL's Digital City.

Other investors in Productopia include Ben Rosen, chairman of Compaq Computer, Angel Investors, and Barnesandnoble.com chief executive Jonathan Bulkeley.

Productopia takes "compelling content and wraps it in great e-commerce guide," said Brad Garlinghouse of @Ventures. "It is both a valuable source of information and reviews and a convenient way to shop."

The company said it also provides shoppers with an unambiguous disclosure of any relationships that may exist with retailers and manufacturers mentioned on its site.

In addition to providing product research information, the company has partnered with e-tailers to provide users with one-click access to online purchasing. Productopia's list of e-commerce partners includes eBay and BestBuy, among others.

Microsoft, Intel, and Gateway hold minority positions in CMGI.

CMGI is Lycos's largest shareholder and is largely responsible for USA Networks ending its bid to acquire the Internet search engine. Other CMGI public holdings include GeoCities and Critical Path.

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