Lycos said the acquisition will help it build the necessary computing infrastructure for Lycos Clubs, its community site. Valent makes back-end software called NetClubs that already powers Lycos Clubs.
Portal executives have touted communities as an important tool for retaining users on their sites. These services let users create areas to communicate, usually about specific topics of interest.
Communities have been marketed as online gathering places where special-interest groups and families can create forums to trade digital photos, post messages, chat and send email to one another. Lycos Clubs will incorporate home page publishing from Tripod and Angelfire, which it also owns.
"The acquisition of Valent will help us expand the role of communities across the Lycos Network, thereby helping to boost user loyalty, page views and length of visit," Ron Sege, executive vice president for Lycos, said in a statement.
Lycos hosts 62,000 clubs in its network, the company said. Web portals such as Yahoo and Excite also have community sites.