Gay & Lesbian Portal Links Up With Lycos

In a move that will surely increase its monthly traffic, one of the Internet’s leading gay and lesbian portals announced the launch of a co-branded site with Lycos, Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS) Thursday.

San Francisco-based PlanetOut said the co-branded site will feature gay and lesbian news and travel features, daily interactive polling, headline news and daily audio news wrap-ups produced by the site’s news team.

“Lesbians and gay men are a significant part of the global online community,” said PlanetOut CEO, Megan Smith. “With the reach of the Lycos network, we can provide our programming and features to a tremendously attractive audience.

The co-branded site will be listed on Lycos’ portal in the People & Society Web guide.

An Online Veteran

PlanetOut celebrated its fourth anniversary Wednesday, which makes it a wizened old sage in a classroom of rosy-cheeked neophytes. With a $3 million (US$) first-round equity backing from America Online and Sequoia Capital in 1996, PlanetOut claims to be the first gay and lesbian-oriented site to receive corporate financing.

Since then, the company has expanded its reach significantly. The site has 250,000 registered users and logs 500,000 unique visitors a month. It has also seemingly become an online voice for the gay and lesbian community, confronting relevant and timely issues. For example, the mothers of actresses Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche recently logged on to PlanetOut to discuss what is what like to have gay children.

The marketing potential of PlanetOut has not escaped attention. In June, the company announced that it signed an $11 million marketing agreement with NextCard, an Internet Visa card. The deal calls for co-branded products and credit cards for PlanetOut members.

Advertisers on its Web site include IBM, Saturn Cars, United Airlines, Microsoft and Starbucks, to name a few. The company has forged content alliances with AOL, Netscape, Yahoo!, NBC/Snap and others.

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