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Website Pros Buys NetObjects Assets

Website Pros, a provider of Web site design and support services, announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of NetObjects, a Web services platform vendor whose technical sophistication proved to be considerably deeper than its pockets (see NetObjects Says It's Short on Cash).

Darin Brannan, Website Pros' founder and senior vice president of business development, told ASPnews that the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company is "purchasing NetObjects Fusion and Matrix and all technologies associated with them, including anything involved with the support, maintenance, marketing and service" of the Web site building products.

Under terms of the agreement, Website Pros will acquire NetObjects customer and partner contacts (which include industry giants such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM).

More on NetObjects
»NetObjects Failure Leaves Customers Hanging
(September 7, 2001)

»NetObjects Says It's Short on Cash
(August 15, 2001)

»HP to Bundle NetObjects with Scanners
(July 31, 2001)

»Is There Magic in Matrix
(June 29, 2001)

»NetObjects To Support Mac OS X
(June 12, 2001)

»IBM Selects NetObjects Matrix
(June 11, 2001)

»NetObjects Finalizes Sale of Enterprise Division
(February 2, 2001)

Brannan told ASPnews that Website Pros will also add "key engineering personnel" from NetObjects. The exact number, he said, is still undetermined because individual negotiations are in progress. Brannan said he was unable to comment on the purchase price of the NetObjects assets.

The NetObjects Fusion and Matrix brandnames and technologies will be incorporated across the company's current mix of services in three areas:

  1. Do-it-yourself customers who want templates and the ability to add features themselves. Matrix, a hosted Web site-building platform launched in June (see related story), will be the underlying technology here.
  2. Do-it-yourself-with-help customers who want to use Fusion or Matrix to build a Web site, but also want access to a Web site consultant.
  3. Customers who want someone to build the site for them, but may also want the capability to update the site on their own at some point.
NetObjects Fusion, which allows Windows users to build Web sites with a WYSIWYG editor has been used to create more than five million Web sites, according to NetObjects estimates. However, it appears that Matrix is the big prize for Website Pros. "Matrix was a little more attractive, because of our in-direct sales strategy. It's in line with service providers that are looking for server-side technology," Brannan told ASPnews.

Currently, Website Pros offers a Build Your Own Web Site service for an initial fee of $25 and monthly fee of $19.95. Matrix will most likely become the underlyingg technology for that service. (The company's pricing for Web sites it builds ranges from setup fees of $499 to $3,390; monthly fees for those sites range from $14.95 to $49.95.)

"As we worked with our 26 Enterprise Partners to help them evaluate and offer technology solutions, it became clear that NetObjects had the only platform powerful enough to meet the demands of our partners and their small business customers today and well into the future," said David Brown, chairman and CEO of Website Pros, in a statement.

Despite widespread industry praise for its products, the Redwood City, Calif.-based NetObjects ran into dire financial trouble in August when it announced to its shareholders that it lacked sufficient cash to continue operating through the end of its fiscal year (September 30th). The company deregistered its common stock on September 18th.