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In a press conference Friday morning,



CEO Robert Davis quickly tired of reporters' questions about the likelihood of his company's merger deal with

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch



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But there was one merger question he jumped right into: Whether Lycos would complete its deal to acquire

Wired Ventures

. Last week,

wrote that

squabbles among Wired shareholders might cause Lycos to walk away from that deal.

Normally, Davis said, he doesn't address rumors like that, but in this case, he was making an exception. "We are wholeheartedly committed to that transaction," he said. He expects it to close in the next 30 days.

As if this response wasn't strong enough, he came up with another. "At no point was there any discussion anywhere within the company of even thinking of backing away from the deal," Davis said.

Rating the Ratings

What do you think of the Internet ratings numbers? It probably depends on what the numbers think of you.

That's the case with


, the Internet community site that's building an online audience by providing free home pages and other services, just like its competitors





and Lycos'





Over the past half year, the number of Internet visitors from the U.S. showing up at each month has declined even though Internet usage has grown. In August, 2.6 million people hit the site at least once, according to

Media Metrix

, but this January only 2.2 million visitors showed up, a 15.1% decline.

Meanwhile, although other Net communities' reach has fluctuated in recent months, they're up from August. GeoCities' January audience of 18.8 million is up 11.4% from August, and's is up 41.4%, at 9.6 million. has compiled its own numbers, but these don't match Media Metrix's. Spokeswoman Esther Loewy says that according to's own records, 9.3 million different people visited the site in December, up from 6.3 million in September, well above Media Metrix's estimate.

What accounts for the difference? Forty percent of's users are from other countries, Loewy says -- visitors not counted by Media Metrix. But she also takes issue with the accuracy of the Media Metrix sample. "You can't get an accurate sample," she says, citing the size of the panel Media Metrix uses to estimate viewership.

But there are no complaints from rivals. and Lycos, on behalf of Tripod and Angelfire, both issued press releases trumpeting their new numbers, though fails to mention that its main site's numbers dropped 16.4% from the month before.

That's Entertaindom

Get ready for yet another major media company to launch yet another portal.

Sometime before the end of June,

Warner Bros. Online

plans to launch

Entertaindom, a site devoted to -- you guessed it -- entertainment, in the form of video, music, animation and games. Warner Bros. is a subsidiary of

Time Warner


, which also operates the


and the


Web sites.

Warner Bros. already has an

online site devoted to its various properties, where you can build your own


fan page or chat about

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

. Entertaindom aims to cover entertainment from a variety of media outlets, not just Warner Bros., according to different sources. In addition to covering the world of entertainment a la

E! Online and

Mr. Showbiz, the site promises to "give birth to a new breed of original entertainment only possible on the Internet."

Warner Bros. Online president Jim Moloshok wasn't available for comment, but he'll presumably start talking up the project at two upcoming industry conferences where he's excpected to speak: the

Jupiter Communications Online Forum

on Monday in New York and, one week later,

Variety's Interactive Marketing

summit in Palm Springs.

Two years ago Moloshok announced


, a Web site with news, sports and weather reports intended to be a network of sites used by local television broadcasters. CityWeb never got off the ground.

Perhaps the new site will show more promise. "I assume because they're from a well-funded company with well-known brands, their chances for success are reasonable," says



CEO George Bell.

As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see

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