Lycos Debuts Social Sharing Platform

Lycos today announced the beta release of Lycos Circles, a “social sharing platform” that focuses on helping users keep in touch with people they already know, rather than on meeting new people.

“Lycos Circles gives users a one-stop shop for sharing things, discussing and staying in touch with their favorite circles of people,” said David Kim, CEO of Lycos. “Lycos Circles helps you be more efficient at socializing and staying connected with family, friends and the groups you care about most.”

Lycos intends to leverage the sites within its network to offer Circles users ways to create content with Web publishing, blog and photo album tools on Tripod and Angelfire; to find content, with Lycos People Search and Discussion Search; and to share that content through Lycos Circles, according to Lauren Bigelow, VP of product management.

“It’s a publishing platform that’s similar to a blog, but you decide who has permission to see each item. You get to decide how much you want to expose to each person,” Bigelow said.

Circles will display contextual advertising on certain pages, though which ones hasn’t been determined, she said. Ads will be targeted through a combination of Google AdSense and an in-house platform; the methods currently used on Lycos’ Tripod and Angelfire sites.

Other revenue opportunities come from partnerships with other sites. In the weeks to come, Lycos plans to add photo-printing capabilities through Shutterfly, as well as the ability to share reviews or playlists and to download music, Bigelow said. Lycos could also benefit by upselling premium products from other sites in its network, such as Quote.com or RagingBull.com.

Lycos is relatively late to the social networking party. Friendster, Google’s Orkut and others have been around a year or more, although the business model of such sites isn’t entirely clear.

The company announced in February it would shed its portal strategy in favor of becoming a vast social network. In August, Spanish media giant Terra Networks sold the U.S.-based Lycos properties to South Korean Internet media group Daum Communications Corp. for $105 million.

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