MatchLogic Falls Under ExciteAtHome's Ax

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ExciteAtHome Corp. yesterday announced it will close online advertising subsidiary MatchLogic Inc. as part of a plan to "reduce the company's focus on online media and narrowband businesses."


MatchLogic is expected to be shut by the end of the year.


"Selling and reducing our narrowband media assets that do not contribute financially or strategically to the broadband access business is the right direction for our corporate viability," Patti Hart, chairwoman/CEO of ExciteAtHome, said in a statement.


ExciteAtHome also said it will "refine the Excite.com portal services" and lay off about 500 employees in the next three months as it looks for ways to survive.


Excite.com was one of the search sites that evolved during the late '90s to offer everything from free e-mail to personalized news and stock quotes. The idea was to become a so-called portal, or online entry point, draw as many "eyeballs" as possible, and then charge astronomical sponsorship fees for access to them.


ExciteAtHome has been hit hard by the soft advertising market and the high cost of building out a broadband network. The firm offered no details on how the Excite.com portal's business model might be changed.


The statement did, however, make clear that cash is ExciteAtHome's No. 1 concern.


"The company anticipates needing additional funding and/or financial restructuring in order to continue as a going concern," the statement said. "There can be no assurance that such funding can be attained or that any restructuring will be successful."


Sources say Westminster, CO-based MatchLogic has promised to deliver on business currently under contract, but that it will not accept new business.


MatchLogic claimed an e-mail database of 20 million addresses and an online database of 72 million anonymous profiles.


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