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Women's Wire gets a boost

US West Interactive announces an investment in Wire Networks, publisher and parent company of Women?s Wire, making it the largest single investor in the company.

    US West Interactive Services Group today announced an investment in Wire Networks, publisher and parent company of Women's Wire, making it the largest single investor in the company.

    Privately held Wire Networks chose to make an alliance with US West rather than try a risky initial public offering, according to Wire Networks president and CEO of Marleen McDaniel.

    "Market reaction hasn't always been positive to early IPOs from Internet companies", McDaniel said.

    McDaniel and US West officials declined to disclose the terms of the investment.

    The partnership is aimed at fueling growth for Wire Network's sites by developing localized content with the US West local online developer DiveIn.

    Wire Networks sites are targeted at women and include Women's Wire, Beatrice's Web Guide, and Healthy Ideas.

    Under the agreement, DiveIn will offer original content to such cities as Atlanta; Chicago; Denver; Detroit, Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Portland; Seattle; and the Twin Cities--urban areas where US West already has a significant telephone or cable presence. The cobranded areas will be accessible from either DiveIn or Wire Networks's Women's Wire site.

    According to a Jupiter Communications study, the 23.4 million women online today will increase fivefold by the year 2000. US West Interactive president Tom Cullen is hoping to attract this powerful demographic with custom local content focused on three areas: home and garden, shopping, and careers.

    "US West is active in creating an Internet interactive portfolio, and the women's segment is an important part of that," Cullen said in an interview this morning.