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Net Finance News: 29 Aug- 1 Sept 1999

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1 Sept 1999 Free ISP carrier makes a profit


Online insult mars Freenetnames launch

Kids of all ages will have even greater choice about they buy their toys from after

eToys

announced it is to expand its operation into the UK. This is eToy's first venture outside the US and the company said the Web site will be ready in time for the annual Christmas assault. According to eToys, the UK will serve as a beachhead for expansion across Europe and will be headed by Ruben Rodriguez, who joined eToys in May as VP international.


Excite@Home

has paid $2.5 million for a minority stake in electronic postage outfit

E-stamp

. It's also forked out an undisclosed sum for a minority interest in travel company

Rosenbluth

.


Direct Line

-- the telephone-based general insurance company that has an annoying little red phone on wheels for a logo -- is to start selling policies online. While it's not the first, it claims its Web site will be far simpler to use and much faster that its competitors. Ian Chippendale, group CE of Direct Line told the

FT

that it expects at least 15 per cent of its motor insurance to be bought over the Net by 2003.


Another company is to start offering online share dealing in the UK, lining up directly in competition with

Charles Schwab

. According to a report by

Bloomberg

, DLJdirect -- the online arm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette -- will start trading tomorrow. Charges for the service are not the lowest and will start at £15 per trade.


31 Aug 1999Jungle.com

, the start-up Web department store, is claiming a first day record for pages served -- 2.8 million served yesterday. Jungle's pipe supplied by

Planet

was more than adequate to cope with the traffic, but the company's servers found it all a bit of strain. "Getting on to our site yesterday was a bit of a painful experience," Jungle founder Steve Bennett said. " We would have twice as many sales with half the traffic." Jungle is busily installing more servers to handle traffic volumes. These should be in place in the next couple of days. First day Jungle customers headed straight for the free software gifts and bought "useful" amounts. Surprisingly, music was a bigger hit with customers than games and computer software.


London-based Web company

BiblioTech

has signalled its intention to create online communities for different markets by acquiring the yellow welly brigade Web site

AboarD

. The site -- which offers advice for brokers, boat builders, charter services, and other companies in the recreational boat market -- is regarded as one of the top sites for sailors and will be merged into BiblioTech’s existing communities.


NetBenefit

-- domain name registrars and all round Net services company -- has acquired

VOXPOP Internet Publishing

for an undisclosed sum. Based in Sophia Antipolis, VOXPOP is a reseller of NetBenefit's services in France and clocked up sales of more than FFr 1.2m in the nine months to June 1999. The demand for French domain names has doubled in the last 12 months. NetBenefit hopes the move will allow it to take advantage of other French language markets as they emerge.


Scoot.com

has teamed up with

Sci.Fi

to develop interactive services for the cable TV channel in the UK. The new Sci.Fi web-site

www.scifi.com

is due to be launched tomorrow and will include a link to Scoot's existing nation-wide cinema guide. Information services company Scoot (UK) posted operating losses of £1.9 million for Q3 but claims that Internet usage increased by 306 per cent to 67 million (what -- people? page impressions? hits?) during the same period.


Bowie flogs download album
Screaming.net takes legal cudgels against 'copycat'ISP
Intel to climb aboard unmetered bandwagon?
30 Aug 1999

Gay entrepreneurs Gordon Lewis and Mark Fullalove have got backing from the Bank of Scotland and Legal & General "along with other corporate heavyweights" for their new Internet venture -- the

Rainbow Network

. This will carry "financial, legal, travel and lifestyle news designed to the gay community", The

ST

reports. "Rainbownetwork.com has identified a niche market with highly disposable income that has yet to be targeted online in its entirety," Lewis told the paper. Fullalove and Lewis set up the Village Group, the major operator of gay and lesbian bars in Soho, London.


British shoppers will spend £9.5 billion annually over the Internet by the end of next year, market research firm

NOP

forecasts. It reckons the UK Internet retail market will pull in £3 billion this year, compared with less than £500m in 1998.


Match.com

-- "the world’s biggest Internet dating agency" -- is coming to the UK and Ireland, the

ST

reveals. After a three month free trial, punters pay £10 for one month. They can also buy discounted longer-term packages. Match.com already has a 50,000-strong customer base in Britain. It expects this number to grow by 1,500 per cent in a year.


Chase Manhattan’s VC business,

Chase Capital Partners

(CCP), is launching a £200 million European Internet fund this week, according to the

ST

. It will rank second only to

Group Arnault’s

£300m pot in the European Internet VC market. In an interview with the

ST

Lindsey Stuart, CCP managing partner, said: "Our strongest success in America have been achieved by backing fast moving management teams with simple business concepts. We expect the same will be true in Europe." CCP’s American investments include TheStreet.com and Starmedia.


Future looks to Jam tomorrow in Netscape Online deal
Microsoft to relaunch MSN in Europe

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