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About.com beats 3Q estimates

About.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: BOUT) posted a third quarter net loss of $1.04, beating the loss of $1.27 of a share expected by First Call. Revenue was strong for the quarter.

Revenue for the quarter ended September 30, increased to $7.9 million, more than seven times above the year ago mark. Sales jumped 113 percent over revenue of $3.7 million in the second quarter of 1999.

Shares in the network of niche vertical sites closed at 49 3/4 Thursday. After undergoing a name change last May, the company's stock has been spiking down from its high of 100. The company launched its IPO in March.

Net loss for the quarter was $12.7 million, or $1.04 a share, more than the $4.3 million, or 54 cents a share lost in the 1998 period, but an improvement over the net loss of $20.4 million, or $1.69 a share for the second quarter of 1999. One of the biggest dents came from sales and marketing expenses, which increased to $12.5 million, compared to $2.3 million spent in last year's quarter.

Unique visitors grew to 8.9 million for the month of August 1999, making About.com the fastest growing web property in the Top 25, according to Media Metrix data. Average daily page views grew 29 percent to 5.3 million for the month of September, compared to 4.1 million for the month of June 1999. About.com also said its RPM (revenue per thousand page views) increased to $15.13 for the third quarter from $13.33 in the second quarter, according to the company release.

Accomplishments for the quarter include agreements with Netscape Communications where About.com is featured as a premier search provider on the Netscape Net Search page, and a distribution agreement with CNN.com. The company also formed an alliance with Accompany and Vstore to improve the buying opportunities and storefronts within the company's 650 niche vertical sites. About.com also bought VantageNet, operator of www.freepolls.com, which it now uses to include polls for issues and products across its sites.