How Hot Are Net IPOs? Just Ask Jeeves.

The question-and-answer search engine has rocketed up more than 350% in its debut.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- How's Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) doing in its first day of trading? The answer: so far, a smashing success.

The widely anticipated debut of Ask Jeeves, a question-answering search engine, was a runaway hit. It was priced at 14 Wednesday and opened at 72. It recently was trading up 51 1/8, or around 365%, at 74. As the only search engine of its kind with easy-to-understand technology, the IPO was expected to have mass appeal.

While the heat in the Internet sector can be partly attributed to a recent string of well-received IPOs, several deals and agreements announced today have also accounted for much of the activity.

Shares of

VerticalNet

(VERT)

were sharply higher after the business Web site operator said it had acquired three Web site communities to provide business-to-business e-commerce to its site. VerticalNet now has 43 Web properties. The new acquisitions were

TechSpex

for the machine-tools community,

ElectricNet

for electrical power industry professionals and

Oil-Link

for members of the oil and gas industry. VerticalNet was up 11 1/8, or 11%, at 116 1/8 around midday.

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

said it will provide

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

WebTV Networks

with technology that will allow it to support RealNetworks' RealAudio G2 format.

This deal marks RealNetworks' entrance into the interactive television market and also shows that the company is making efforts to get along with Microsoft. The two companies have a long history of

antagonism toward each other. RealNetworks was thriving on the news, up 8, or 12%, at 76 7/8. Microsoft was down 1/4, or 0.3%, at 89 15/16.

Lycos

(LCOS)

was one of the best-performing Internet stocks after the Net portal said it would offer online financial services through

WingspanBank.com

, a subsidiary of

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

. The deal could be worth as much as $135 million to Lycos if performance thresholds are met. Lycos was up 10, or 11%, at 101 7/8. Bank One was up 3/4, or 1%, at 66 5/16.

In another transaction in financial services,

Go2Net

(GNET)

said it was buying

Authorize.Net

, an online payment-authorization service for e-business. The deal was worth $90.5 million in stock and cash. Go2Net was down 3 3/4, or 4%, at 88 1/8 on the news.

iVillage

(IVIL)

, the online community devoted to women, said it bought

Online Psychological Services

for $1.35 million in cash and $23.5 million in stock. iVillage was down 1 5/16, or 3%, at 48 15/16.

JagNotes.com

columnist

Dan Dorfman

started a rumor that

About.com

(BOUT) - Get Report

might be purchased by either

USA Networks

(USAI) - Get Report

or

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

. About.com was up 3 15/16, or 8% at 55 13/16, after trading as low as 23 on June 15.