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Net answer site gets a good response: $42 million

Keen.com, which pairs up consumers and experts, says it raised $42 million in a third round of funding for promotional partnerships with portals.

    Keen.com raised $42 million in a third round of funding, the company announced Wednesday.

    Innovation Investments and Pyramid Technology Ventures led the funding round for the online answer site, in conjunction with Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown and CNET Networks, the publisher of News.com.

    Karl Jacob, chief executive of San Francisco-based Keen.com, said the company would use the funding to further develop its infrastructure and for promotional partnerships with portals.

    "This is not going to go to one big, huge marketing campaign," Jacob said. "We expect the money to last until we become profitable."

    But Jacob declined to specify when Keen.com expects to be profitable.

    The funding for Keen.com comes as other e-commerce sites have struggled to find needed cash. In recent weeks, mValue, Chipshot.com and Miadora.com have closed their doors or filed for bankruptcy protection, unable to raise funds from skeptical investors.

    Keen.com pairs consumers looking for advice and information with experts. And although consumers find experts over the Internet, Keen.com connects them via the telephone. The company charges consumers a 5-cent-per-minute connection fee and takes a 30 percent cut of its experts' per-minute fees.

    Keen.com was criticized earlier this year by eBay sellers after it signed a marketing deal with the online auction giant. eBay sellers charged that Keen.com's so-called experts were offering questionable advice and drawing potential buyers away from the auction site.

    Some of Keen.com's most popular advice givers are psychics and tarot card readers. The privately held company now has some 800,000 members.

    Among Keen.com's other investors are Benchmark Capital, which participated in the most recent funding round, and eBay and Microsoft, which did not.