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IHS buys Industry.net

The electronic publisher purchases the Web site for industrial manufacturers and distributors from Perot Systems.

Industry.net, a pioneering Internet marketplace for smokestack companies, is back.

Electronic publisher IHS Group has purchased the Web site for industrial manufacturers and distributors from Perot Systems for an undisclosed sum.

Perot bought the site and its parent company, Nets Incorporated, for $9 million in July from the bankruptcy court after former Lotus chief executive Jim Manzi spent millions trying to remake Industry.net.

"Nets Incorporated tried to evolve the site into an e-commerce site," said Miles Baldwin, IHS vice president of corporate development. "We're taking a step backward making it an information resource. They were building electronic commerce software to the detriment of the core business, which was the publishing business."

IHS Group intends to return Industry.net to its roots as a place where industrial companies pay to post marketing information and catalogs, and it intends to generate several million dollars in revenue over the next year in that business.

But IHS, with $360 million in revenue last year, also will use Industry.net to spark interest in a new wrinkle to its traditional business, selling $10,000-plus annual subscriptions to large companies to give their engineers access to detailed data on industrial products.

The new Industry.net will continue to let visitors see suppliers' marketing information for free, but IHS also will make searches of its vast database available on a pay-per-use basis.

"We have not gone to the medium or small-end market, but now people using Industry.net can use the service on a pay-per-use basis," said Baldwin.

IHS also plans to boost Industry.net's basic offerings by putting 20 people behind an effort to get more vendor listings, which companies pay for but the site's 450,000-plus registered users can see for free. Industry.net now has information from more than 700 manufacturers and 1,500 distributors.

The deal lets Perot Systems, a computer services firm with $600 million in revenue last year, unload a publishing business it never wanted when it acquired Nets Incorporated.

Perot, which will continue to maintain and host the Industry.net site, picked up 58 software developers plus e-commerce application code. Those form the basis for Perot's e-commerce group, Time0, under the leadership of Rob Lippincott.

Eileen Quirk, director of IHS Engineering?s electronic component information databases, has been appointed chief operating officer of Industry.net.