Lycos Challenges Netscape and Yahoo! with Kiddie Site

Lycos, Inc. announced that it has launched a new Web site for kids in an attempt to make the Internet a more family-friendly place to surf.

Located at www.lycoszone.com, the new site is designed for children ages 3 to 12, and features online education and entertainment from 16 different providers. One of the services it offers is comprehensive help for children doing their homework. Additionally, all the content on the site is filtered by Lycos — protecting children from accidental exposure to pornography and other offensive material found on the Internet.

Harness Constructive Power

“Lycos is dedicated to making the Web a family-friendly experience by providing tools, services and content that harness the power of the Internet in safe and constructive ways,” said Bob Davis, Lycos’ president and chief executive officer. “This new site was carefully crafted to give kids, parents and educators their own safe environment where they can access the best of the Web-packaged in a fun, informative and age-specific style all its own.”

Lycos Zone is organized into four main areas:

The Homework Zone, which offers a directory of leading Web sites selected by editors and educators, an interactive atlas, multimedia encyclopedia and children’s almanacs.

The Fun and Games Zone, which features a large selection of games and fun activities for kids.

The Parents and Teachers Zone, which offers child-safe searching tips and tools, message boards, and a curriculum resource directory.

The New and Cool Zone, which showcases new Web sites for kids that make learning fun. Advertising Will Foot The Bill

Lycos pointed out that the new site will be supported by ads, but promised that the ads would be clearly labeled. The company, already the fifth most popular site on the Web with more than 2.4 million daily visitors, hopes to compete with Netscape’s “Kidzone” and Yahoo!’s “Yahooligans.”

However, the fact that advertising is paying for the site has drawn criticism from such organizations as the Center for Media Education. The group, which was instrumental in getting a new federal law passed that prohibits Web sites from collecting information from children without parental permission, fears that this move is an attempt by Lycos to get parents to lower their guards.

Lycos officials said that no personal information such as names or e-mail addresses would be collected from children — even with parental permission.

About Lycos

Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS) remains a large independent player in the portal arena, drawing more than 29 million visitors each month.

About 75 percent of Lycos’ revenue comes from advertising, but it also receives income from e-commerce and licensing agreements with partners such as Bertelsmann. Internet investment firm CMGI owns 18 percent of the company.

In its fiscal year ending July, Lycos — which employs about 456 workers — lost $52 million on revenue of $135.5 million.

Yesterday, its stock rose $2.09, closing at $50.38.

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