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Netcenter wants new white pages

Netscape is expected to announce that WhoWhere will provide Netcenter with white-page directory information.

Netscape Communications is expected to announce a deal next week under which WhoWhere will provide Netscape's Netcenter portal site with white-page directory information for individuals, according to sources close to the deal.

While both companies declined to comment on the deal, sources indicated that Netscape and WhoWhere had finalized an agreement.

The expected announcement is seen as a big win for WhoWhere, which licenses its directory technology to other companies, which then brand it under their own name. Some speculate that WhoWhere's personal home page technology could be another Netcenter addition further down the road.

Terms of the deal are expected to resemble those agreed to between Netscape and its search firm partners. Under those arrangements, search firms pay Netscape in exchange for some returned traffic, as well as for the exposure that goes along with being on Netcenter.

Netcenter is Netscape's entry in the hot Web portal market. Portals aggregate information and services in an attempt to be Web surfers' point of departure and frequent point of reference.

In May, Netscape launched a two-month campaign, dubbed Project 60, to build out Netcenter with content and services. Partners announced in the last two months include USA.net, which will provide Netcenter users with free Web-based email accounts; Excite, which built the Netscape-branded search engine and is collaborating with Netscape on aggregating channel content; and the MonsterBoard, which is coproducing Netcenter's career center.

NEWS.COM publisher CNET: The Computer Network is Netcenter's content partner for the computing and Internet channel.

Netcenter is losing its current white-page directory starting next month when portal competitor and partner Yahoo withdraws its Netscape Guide by Yahoo. Yahoo decided to sever its ties with Netscape last month.

Netscape also is expected to announce the formal launch of its Netcenter upgrade. Version 2.0 has been in public beta since June 16.