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Netscape inks directory deal

The company signs on InfoSpace to power its yellow- and white-page directories on its newly revamped Netcenter portal site.

Netscape Communications has signed on InfoSpace to power its yellow- and white-page directories on its newly revamped Netcenter portal site.

The company's stock jumped for the second day in a row. Today it closed up more than 15 percent at 41.3125.

The deal comes contrary to reports, including one by CNET NEWS.COM, that the company was expected to sign on WhoWhere to be the provider of white-page directory services. WhoWhere said the dissolution of talks with Netscape was mutual.

"The amount that they were demanding from us and the structure of the entire deal didn't work for our business model," said Mike Armistead, vice president of products and marketing at WhoWhere. "In the end, we looked at good business sense, and we didn't find it in Netscape."

Two days ago, Netscape launched an updated version of its Netcenter site as a revamped portal offering. The site now features content channels and offers a spate of services such as free email and message boards.

The white pages will include addresses, phone numbers, and email look-up directories. The yellow page service will feature address, business phone, and fax number look-ups. InfoSpace also will map business locations and provide directions.

"I think what you're going to see with the yellow- and white-page offering over time is differentiating it with back-end integration that integrates not only a white-page offering with something like mail, but brings in an ability to enable it with a client," said Dave Beckwith, director of search and navigation programs at Netscape.

CNET: The Computer Network, which publishes NEWS.COM, is Netcenter's content partner for the computing and Internet channel.

Along with the jump in Netscape's stock, other Internet stocks rallied today as well, led by Net advertising company DoubleClick and online bookseller Amazon.com. DoubleClick, up nearly 12 percent, reached an all-time high today, closing at 71.625. A flurry of activity yesterday caused NASDAQ to scrutinize the sudden spike in DoubleClick shares, but the runup carried over to today.

Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon closed at yet another 52-week high today. The stock, which split 2 for 1 in April, reached a midday high of 125.5 and will stand at 124 when the markets reopen Monday. The issue has traded as low as 9.0625 in the past year.

NEWS.COM reporter Corey Grice contributed to this report.