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Lycos cuts 20% Staff

Once a bright star of the dot com days, Lycos has announced that it will be streamlining its business in order to focus on subscription services, such as its personals site Matchmaker. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., will outsource U.S. advertising sales to 24/7 Real Media.

As a result, Lycos laid off about 90 people in the United States, according to a company representative. Sources inside the company said many members of its U.S. ad sales team were laid off Monday, along with the engineering and Webmonkey staff in San Francisco. A company representative said it will close its Mountain View offices.

The company plans to relaunch its home page, emphasizing its "connections" services, including personals, Web logging and Lycos' search tools. It also plans to introduce new online social-networking services.

Lycos has been further tightening its belt lately. This month, it closed its collection of community sites, including chat, message boards and clubs, in an effort to refocus its business. The company owns search technology HotBot, home page builder Angelfire and Tripod, its blogging site.

Traffic to Lycos' Web network has dropped in the past year. From October 2002 to December 2003, the number of visitors to the network dipped from about 35 million to 32 million, according to market researcher Nielsen/NetRatings.

Along with other companies, Lycos has been hit by a decline in online advertising spending since the dot-com bust. Among other things, German media giant Bertelsmann renegotiated $675 million in advertising with Barcelona-based Terra Lycos, which subsequently reorganized. And in late 2002, Terra Lycos' former head of U.S. operations, Stephen Killeen, left the company.

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