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About.com Acquires E-Commerce Ad Network WiseAds

Content portal About.com (NASDAQ:BOUT) on Friday confirmed its acquisition of online e-commerce advertising network WiseAds New Media.

The deal is expected to add WiseAds' clients to About.com's Luna Network of affiliated content sites, and to bolster About.com ad sales.

"It's a great fit on two fronts," said John Caplan, About.com network group president.

"First, they bring a lot of terrific sales people, as part of our effort to bolster our sales force. Secondly, we see [WiseAds network partners'] potential to join the Luna Network, which is rapidly growing."

Luna Network partners drive traffic to About.com through banner advertising and About.com search buttons, in return for prominent placement on subject-relevant About.com Guide pages.

Caplan declined to comment on how long the two companies had been in talks or on specific terms of the agreement.

He did indicate that talks were still ongoing to determine how the newly acquired firm would be integrated into About.com. Caplan also said an undisclosed number of WiseAds' network partners currently are undergoing a screening process to join the Luna Network.

Premised on presenting advertisers with the opportunity to reach active buyers audience that is comfortable purchasing online, WiseAds' network is comprised solely of e-commerce sites -- a niche market play, as e-commerce sites focus on income through sales rather than ad revenue.

Despite its niche status, the network has enjoyed moderate success since its founding in early 1999 by Jason Cohen and Evan Stein, formerly of DoubleClick (NASDAQ:DCLK).

WiseAds' client roster features advertisers in the computer and consumer goods arenas, including Compaq Factory Outlet, (NYSE:CPQ) B2C and B2C online auction site uBid.com and pet products retailer PETsMART.com. (NASDAQ:PETM)

Cohen and Stein declined to comment on the deal.