Users go to the Xoom.com site to build free home pages but in return allow Xoom.com to send them direct-email offers from outside vendors. Currently, direct emails include links to separate Web pages where users can conduct their transactions.
The acquisition, worth $2 million to $3 million in stock, will allow Xoom.com to add a stronger encryption element to its emails. As a result, Xoom.com will be able to allow users to buy products directly through email, according to Vijay Vaidyanathan, head of strategic technologies at Xoom.com.
"Eventually, we want to make it so if someone gets an offer in email, and they want to order it, they can click on a button and it's done," Vaidyanathan said.
Xoom.com makes its money through direct emailers, who pay the company for the ability to contact its users. Other home page communities, such as Yahoo GeoCities and Lycos's Tripod, gain revenue by placing ad banners on member pages.
CNET and Xoom.com own stakes in NBCi, NBC's Internet unit. CNET is the publisher of News.com.