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Go2Net Bolsters Small-Business Presence

By Andy Wang
Apr 30, 1999 12:00 AM PT

Online network Go2Net (Nasdaq: GNET) strengthened its small business presence on Thursday by announcing the acquisition of Virtual Avenue.

Go2Net Bolsters Small-Business Presence

The purchase of Virtual Avenue, which provides free Web hosting services for small and medium-sized businesses cost Go2Net approximately $23 million (US$) in stock. The deal is effective immediately.

The deal adds more than 85,000 member businesses to HyperMart, Go2Net's free business hosting service, which now has more than 275,000 member businesses. HyperMart and Virtual Avenue are now growing at the combined rate of more than 1,000 new businesses each day.

As part of the deal, Go2Net also acquired USA Online, a directory of business Web sites with more than 200,000 listings.

"Now, with more than a quarter million member businesses and accelerated membership growth, HyperMart is exceptionally well-positioned for leadership in online commerce and business services, both in business-to-business and business-to-consumer environments," said Russell C. Horowitz, CEO of Go2Net. "USA Online's directory will also be of particular value in categorizing and providing improved access channels for our expanding base of businesses."

HyperMart Re-launch Focuses on E-Commerce

Last week, Go2Net announced the $6.5 million purchase of Haggle Online, an online auction service that will be extended to HyperMart's members. In addition to running auctions for individuals, Haggle Online also runs auctions specifically for businesses.

Hypermart will re-launch on April 21st, with a new user interface and new services including 24-hour technical support, seven days a week for Hypermart businesses.

Hypermart also plans to add shopping cart and turnkey commerce solutions in coming months, which will allow Hypermart members to sell items and services in secure environments. Hypermart members are currently able to earn commission from affiliate deals with Go2Net's partners, including OfficeMax.com and barnesandnoble.com.

About Go2Net

The Go2Net Network includes the Metacrawler search engine, shopping comparison service WebMarket, financial discussion site Silicon Investor and 100hot, a leading directory of the most popular sites on the Web.

Go2Net was bolstered on March 15th, when Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced a deal worth about $750 million that would give him a majority stake of the company. Despite a recent pullback, Go2Net stock has been a top performer since Allen's deal was announced. Shares of Go2Net were up 3-5/16 to 163-3/8 in early trading today.

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