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Lycos taps Bertelsmann for Tripod Europe push

Bertelsmann invests about $12 million in Lycos to spearhead the portal's pan-European effort to establish Tripod, its online community service, in Europe.

Bertelsmann, the world's third largest media company, has invested about $12 million in Lycos to spearhead the portal's pan-European effort to establish Tripod, its online community service, in Europe.

Germany-based Bertelsmann, which already has an online joint venture with America Online in Europe, AOL Europe, has helped Lycos launch the first 6 of 12 Tripod Europe sites, including those in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany.

Though Bertelsmann and Lycos have an existing relationship, a venture called Lycos Bertelsmann, how this recent development could affect the relationship between Bertelsmann and AOL is unclear. The companies could not be reached for comment.

Bertelsmann and Lycos plan to launch Tripod sites in other European countries where Lycos is available, including Denmark, Sweden, and Belgium.

"The initial success of Tripod Europe has surpassed our most aggressive expectations and, in just six months, has already reached its projected numbers for the year's end," said Tripod cofounder Bo Peabody. "Bertelsmann's support of Tripod is allowing us to create the first true global online community."

The joint venture hopes to leverage the growing reach of Lycos and Tripod to draw pan-European Web advertising and commerce opportunities, the companies said.

Tripod Europe members also can buy and sell products through Europe's largest online auction, Quixell. Other e-commerce features will be announced shortly, the company said.

Tripod Europe also offers home page building tools, templates, and a file management system. Members can access message boards and utilize chat functions to interact and exchange ideas with other members in their own country or another.

"With specialized features such as localized content and e-commerce opportunities, Tripod Europe successfully responded to the needs of the different European countries," said Frank Mars, president of Tripod Europe.

Since its launch in October 1998, Tripod Europe has experienced a 70 percent average monthly growth rate, the company said. Tripod Europe has more than 450,000 registered members and more than 1 million total member pages, according to the company.