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CMGI to pull plug on iCast site

CMGI will shut down iCast on Thursday, two weeks after the Internet holding company said it would "wind down" the entertainment Web site's operations.

CMGI will shut down iCast on Thursday, two weeks after the Internet holding company said it would "wind down" the entertainment Web site's operations.

iCast will no longer function as a Web site after it completes its live Webcast of New York street performer David Blaine's attempt to stand in a block of ice for two-and-a-half days, according to iCast spokesman Stuart Zakim. Blaine plans to exit from his icy habitat Wednesday at 7:50 p.m. PST; the event will be broadcast live on ABC.

"Tomorrow, when somebody logs on to iCast.com, they will get a note that we're not here anymore," Zakim said.

iCast's closure Thursday is part of an ongoing attempt by CMGI to accelerate profitability by pulling back from some of its money-losing ventures. CMGI plans to trim its portfolio of operating companies and shed money-losing ventures. The company has seen its stock price dip more than 90 percent from its 52-week high of $163.50. Its shares closed Wednesday at $10.88.

The company's stock woes can be largely attributed to the souring market for Internet companies. Because much of CMGI's business centers on developing companies and spinning them out for high-flying public offerings, it has become one of many sacrificial lambs for Internet stocks.

CMGI announced during a conference call two weeks ago that it would shut down iCast and its free Internet service provider, 1stUp.com. Executives said they would try to find buyers for the companies' assets. Following the announcement, iCast laid off its employees in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

iCast employees in the company's Woburn, Ma., headquarters who were involved with the transition period will remain employed until mid-December, Zakim said.