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Net firms mix sex, stock quotes

Online investors are no doubt tired of watching their stocks tank, so a new site plans to offer a distraction: sex.

    Online investors are no doubt tired of watching their stocks tank, so a new site plans to offer a distraction: sex.

    One of the Web's most successful adult entertainment companies--the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG)--on Friday will launch Sexquotes.com, which combines real-time stock ticker information with erotic images of women.

    "The 'www.sexquotes.com' site was created to bring together the two most sought-after commodities on the Web--stock quotes and adult entertainment," Seth Warchavsky, IEG's chief executive, said in a statement.

    And IEG should know what sells on the Net.

    The Seattle company is best known for its online distribution of a sex video featuring former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee and her now estranged husband, rocker Tommy Lee, on their honeymoon.

    The video got 17 million hits the day after it was posted, helping the company to rake in $20 million for 1997--which it expects to double this year.

    IEG wants to file for an initial public offering later this year, and is taking steps to build more traffic by luring more males to its sites. In addition to opening an online casino, IEG's Sexquotes.com site will let surfers customize stock portfolios and set preferences for the adult photos that accompany the tickers.

    Not to be confused with the motion picture ratings, photos rated "PG" on the IEG site will feature scantly clothed models. But those rated "R," "XXX," or "hard core" will show more sexually explicit content. Although no one under 21 is allowed to view the free site, a strict age identification mechanism is not in place--visitors are simply asked to state their age.

    "It's something fun--if you're having a good day or bad day with the market," said Heather Dalton, a spokeswoman for the company.

    IEG is not the only company to combine sex with news and financial information.

    Playboy Enterprises also runs stock quotes on its Web site.

    Copying the design of TheStreet.com investor site, WallStreetSex.com aggregates market news and runs stock and sports score tickers. This is all packaged with erotic chat rooms, sex videos, and a "trading pit" that is really a store filled with adult toys and lingerie.

    "Stocks and broads," as IEG officially calls its concept, may seem like a winning idea in financial terms. But analysts say it might be problematic.

    "A large percentage of financial service-related surfing comes from the workplace, and most prudent workers are reluctant to do sex [surfing] in the office," said Adam Schoenfeld, a senior analyst with Jupiter Communications.

    "I have not seen any synergies between porn and financial services--although today's drop in the Dow could be seen as pornographic," he added.

    Aside from the workplace issues, serious investors may not take to adult sites to monitor their portfolios, said Kate Delhagen of Forrester Research.

    "We have no doubt that adult content is a magnet for certain types of online users--primarily men. And that may be an attractive marketing hook for a young demographic," she said.

    "But I would argue that it detracts from the serious nature of personal stock portfolios," she added. "It's already becoming controversial to watch tickers at the workplace. If you're watching that while there is adult content there--that could be way over the edge."