Raging Bull spears new owner

AltaVista flogs site to Terra Lycos

It's amazing how many page impressions you can rack up with a discussion site. Raging Bull's two million readers wade through, on average, 100 pages each a month and spend 100 minutes each month working through the posts.

Trouble is, it's difficult to get good money from even good discussion sites - the audience may be right, but the readers are even less inclined to click-through on banner ads than, say, a hardware review site.

Take Raging Bull as an example - do you think cash-hungry AltaVista would have sold this business, as it did yesterday, if it was generating good money?

Raging Bull is a seminal discussion site for the army of mostly amateur stockpickers and traders. It was sold yesterday an unspecified amount of cash (which probably means that AltaVista is embarrassed by how little it got) to Terra Lycos.

The sale of Raging Bull, long expected, marks the official retirement of AltaVista's plans to become a portal.

AltaVista needs whatever money it can get, following its well-publicised failure to IPO. CMGI, its owner, won't be exactly keen to shell out more cash.

Terra Lycos, on the other hand, is cash-rich and reckons it can turn Raging Bull's 200 million page impressions a month into hard cash. It cites forecasts that online finance advertising will pick up, and it predicts that Raging Bull will be a beneficiary.

In the meantime, it is entitled to feel pleased with itself for getting hold of Raging Bull. Of the second-ranking portals, Terra Lycos has the best chance of joining the top-tier trio of Yahoo!, AOL and MSN. ®

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