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Lycos to silence chatting

According to a notice on its site, the Web portal plans to shutter its collection of community sites next month in an effort to streamline its business.

Web portal Lycos plans to shutter its collection of community sites next month in an effort to streamline its business, according to a notice on its site.

Beginning Feb. 1, Lycos' community sites, such as chat, message boards, clubs and images, will close. All content, such as text and photos, will be deleted, the notice states.

Instead, Lycos, a division of Spanish Internet conglomerate Terra Lycos, is telling its users to visit other community-related sites on its network, such as home page builders Angelfire and Tripod, its blogging site and its online personals site Matchmaker. The closures will allow it to "provide more and better support to key products," Lycos said, although it did not specify which products it will improve.

"The decision to close this site was a very difficult one for us, and we understand that for many this will be a big disappointment," the notice read.

A Lycos representative did not return calls seeking comment.

The closures follow a similar step by Microsoft, which in September shut its MSN chat rooms outside the United States and Canada, citing abuse. At the time, a Lycos executive in the United Kingdom criticized the move as "irresponsible," although this person also acknowledged that hiring moderators to oversee chat room discussions was an expensive alternative.