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Terra Lycos rekindles HotBot service

The online company hopes to breathe new life into its once-popular search engine and boost its standing in the paid listings market.

Terra Lycos said Monday it is relaunching HotBot, combining search results from four engines on a single site.

The new HotBot site will allow users to query the FAST, Google, Inktomi and Teoma search engines on one page. It also allows users to customize the search: screening for specific languages, dates, file types, or offensive content; changing display settings for results; and even changing the colors of the search page.

HotBot's relaunch is an effort to recapture past glory and bolster Terra Lycos' position in paid listings, a market dominated by the likes of Overture. The Hotbot page contains sponsored links that appear at the top and sides of the results, depending on which search engine is used. The site also runs banner ads.

The company said it has launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to promote the site, which used to be a search favorite in the 1990s. The search engine arena is now dominated by Google.

HotBot could use the ad push. It was the 32nd most visited search site in October, with 1.9 million unique visitors, according to ComScore Networks. By comparison, the top three sites that month--MSN, Yahoo and Google--each brought in more than 43 million unique visitors.

Nevertheless, parent company Terra Lycos recently said that it wants to narrow its focus to more specific areas including Web searches, finance, personals and online publishing. Terra Lycos reported a third-quarter loss of 99 million euros, or roughly $101 million.