In the spirit of the Web content-aggregation model that has driven many portal stocks through the roof, Lycos will introduce a new service Monday aimed at helping Web auction houses increase their exposure and reach.
Lycos--which calls itself a Web "hub" instead of a portal--will launch AuctionConnect, a service that searches online auction houses for specific offerings.
AuctionConnect will use back-end technology provided by BiddersEdge, which developed the service's search engine and other tools, such a price tracker that informs users of deals via email or ICQ chat software. The service will conduct searches of a number of auction houses, including Onsale, DealDeal, FirstAuction, FairMarket, SurplusAuction, uBid, and WebAuction.
With the introduction of its branded auction service, Lycos is on a par with competitors that have jumped on auctions as an additional source of e-commerce revenue. Unlike Lycos's auction search service, however, other portals have favored the introduction of person-to-person auctions.
In September, for example, Yahoo overhauled its auction site, introducing a new version powered by back-end technology from Onsale.In June, Excite launched an auction service through subsidiary Classifieds2000.
Lycos eventually plans to launch a person-to-person auction service of its own, the company said. But for now, it will focus strictly on attracting auction houses to long-term partnership deals.
"This product will not compete with other houses," said James Carney, president and chief executive of BiddersEdge. "Our goal is that we will be complementing activity of the houses, and hopefully will be bringing them traffic."
Bringing auction sites more traffic only increases the possibility that these houses will advertise more extensively on Lycos going forward.
Using BiddersEdge also helps Lycos in another way, by providing the company with a technology template that will allow it to feature the auction service over its entire network of sites, including recently acquired HotBot, WhoWhere, Angelfire, and Tripod, according to David Chesnik, Lycos director of e-commerce. In turn, Lycos can present auction house advertisers with an even larger audience.
"We're tackling the whole network strategy," said Chesnik.