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Tripod relaunch to copy portals

The redesign aims to attract more advertisers and develop an e-commerce revenue stream while copying a common portal strategy.

Adopting the marketing strategy of successful Internet portals, Lycos-owned home page builder Tripod will roll out a redesign in hopes of attracting more advertisers and developing an e-commerce revenue stream.

The new site will comprise four categories: a home page builder; a directory of member home pages; Tripod communities, or "pods"; and an e-commerce area where users can buy and sell goods.

Similar to rival home page builders such as GeoCities, which revamped its site in May, Tripod's member home page directory will be organized into specific content or interest channels. This organization will create a targeted audience for advertisers while making it easier for users to navigate around the once-cluttered site, the firm said.

"There was way too much going on in the front page," said Margaret Gould Stewart, Tripod vice president of media and community development.

More importantly, with the relaunch, Tripod steps into the e-commerce ring. Tripod's buy-sell category will allow users to buy goods from a list of partners such as iPrint, CDnow, Barnes and Noble, and Software BuyLine.

Lycos' strategy in beefing up Tripod may seem counterintuitive, but the strategy is actually popular within the industry. Rather than acting as a simple site, portals increasingly resemble networks of different types of Web pages. The idea is to create diverse areas of interest that lure users and then to redirect them to other areas on the network.

For instance, some users presumably will be drawn to the home page building capabilities of Tripod, and then be attracted to the Lycos search engine when they want to conduct a search. The goal remains capturing eyeballs within a company's family of Web properties.

In the future, the company plans to beef up the site by introducing classifieds and auctions where users can conduct transactions over the Tripod platform. The classifieds section will be powered by Guestworld, but Tripod declined to comment on whether its auction site will be powered by in-house or acquired technology. The company will take a percentage of all transaction revenues conducted on this site.

News.com's Janet Kornblum contributed to this report.