Lycos M'sia keeps faith with online ad biz model

Despite a sluggish outlook for online advertisement spending, Internet player Lycos Asia Sdn Bhd (Lycos Malaysia) is unperturbed and remains comfortable with this business model.

KUALA LUMPUR--Despite a sluggish outlook for online advertisement spending, Internet player Lycos Asia Sdn Bhd (Lycos Malaysia) is unperturbed and remains comfortable with this business model.

Even though the portal depends almost entirely on online advertisement for revenue, its country director Leon Tan said with the continous consolidation in the Internet market, Lycos Malaysia is looking at getting the "lion's share" of the online ad market.

Lycos Malaysia is an extension of the Lycos Asia Ptd Ltd, a US$50 million joint venture between Terra Lycos and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel).

Internatioal Data Corporation (IDC) had indicated that online advertising spending by dotcoms in Asia Pacific last year was down 34 percent from 1999, and that it's forecasted to drop a further 51 percent in 2001.

But Lycos is looking at another source for its online ad income.

"Online ad spending by brick and mortars have exploded and just last month Lycos Malaysia's online ad revenue was an all-time high," Tan said without revealing any figures.

IDC also stated earlier this year that the advertising market should be able to "correct itself" as more traditional brick-and-mortar companies begin to view online advertising as a good alternative to offline advertising.

He added that Lycos Malaysia hoped to break even by the end of next year, mainly by churning revenue via online ad sales.

Tan was speaking to reporters after signing up two financial portals--Surf88 and Stock188--to provide local financial content for the Lycos Malaysia Website.

He said Lycos was committed to getting content from various areas of expertise for the local markets where it has a presence.

In Asia, Lycos has an Internet presence in nine countries--Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and India.

Malaysia is considered by Lycos as a "high potential" market together with China and Taiwan. Tan added that the "mature" Internet markets in Asia are Singapore and Hong Kong.

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