Internet

Netcenter boosts business channel

The Netscape portal adds content from Women.com and business-oriented search engine Virtran to up its small-business offerings.

Furthering its push to compete as a new-media property, Netscape Communications' Web portal Netcenter today announced a series of agreements to boost its content offerings.

Today's additions to Netcenter focus on building out its "Small Business" channel with content partner Women.com and business-oriented search engine Virtran.

In its agreement with Women.com, Netcenter will use the women's Web resource to power its newly created "Her Business" site. The site will mainly feature advice and tip columns targeting entrepreneurial-minded women running small businesses.

Netcenter's small-business Portalopoly channel also will feature SmartShip, a service from Virtran that compares prices between shipment couriers and tracks packages during delivery. SmartShip also will be featured on the "Business" channel.

SmartShip has not yet launched on the site. The service will be launched Friday, according to a Netscape spokeswoman.

For the past few months, Netscape has taken considerable steps to beef up Netcenter to compete with the top brass in the portal space such as Yahoo and AOL. Since the beginning of summer, Netcenter has added portal-distinctive perks such as personalization, yellow page directories, and a number of high-profile search deals, including one that netted the company $70 million from Excite.

However, when it comes to content, most of Netcenter's offerings are powered by Excite as part of their multiyear, multimillion-dollar agreement. As a result, the channels directly powered by Netcenter, such as small business, are consistently being built out, but are thin relative to the cobranded pages with Excite.

Netscape in May announced its intention to create a small-business channel on Netcenter, in hopes of tapping into a potentially lucrative market.