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Terra Lycos Intros New Paid Services

Internet giant Terra Lycos is launching two new subscription services through Tripod and Angelfire, sites that help users build homepages.

It's a small, but significant move, part of the company's efforts to wean itself off advertising revenues in favor of recurring fees.

The premium offerings, Tripod Plus and Angelfire Plus, give members more options, including removal of banner ads from their sites and access to more disk space and bandwidth. The cost is $4.95 per month, plus a $10 set-up fee.

"The new Tripod Plus and Angelfire Plus packages continue our commitment to introduce value-added subscription services, transitioning our users from strictly free services to higher value paid services," said Stephen Killeen, president of Waltham, Mass.-based Terra Lycos U.S.

Last month Terra Lycos introduced a $200 per month service for investors through its Quote.com property. It also charges for membership in its Matchmaker.com online dating site.

Diversifying its revenues has taken on a new urgency as the online ad market remains mired in a year-long slump. Last quarter, 64 percent of Terra Lycos' revenue has come from ads on its network of Web sites. The company's other main business, Internet access, accounted for 12 percent of its revenues.

Terra Lycos, formed last year with the multi-billion merger of portal Lycos and Spain's Terra Networks, also tweaked its page design to be more attractive to large advertisers. Finally, the company is also working to cut costs. During the holidays, the company will require about 800 U.S. workers to take a "holiday hiatus" to cut payroll.

The move also comes after competitor Yahoo rolled out a similar package for its Geocities homepage-hosting site.

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel said his company would ultimately make half its money from non-advertising sources.

Shares of TRLY edged up 0.06 to 9.07 in early trading. In the last 52 weeks, the issue has ranged from 4.5 to 17.625.