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There's Something About About.com

It's rare to find a portal with strong Media Metrix numbers selling below a $500 million market cap.

But there is one: About.com (BOUT). Actually, the site is a conglomeration of 650 vertical areas full of news, links, original content and community.

What's more, there is an actual person (not a bot) that manages every topic. Basically, About.com is a great way to find relevant information when searching the Web.

Of course, because of the structure of About.com, it is much easier to allow advertisers to better target advertising which is becoming more and more important.

In fact, the revenues have been showing strong growth. For the six months ended 1999, revenues were $6.1 million, compared to $548,000 in the same period in 1998.

According to Media Metrix, About.com is the No. 1 source of news, information and entertainment on the Web, as unqiue visitors increased 14.6 percent in July to 8.3 million. What's more, About.com is now ranked 13 overall on the Web in terms of traffic.

In fact, About.com has signed major distributions deals with the following:

1. Netscape Communications: About.com will be featured as the premier search provider on the Net Search page on Netcenter. Also, About.com will be made as an automatic bookmark in the latest version of the Netscape browser.

2. CNN.com: In this deal, About.com will have a fixed position on all of the CNN.com pages, as well as on CNNSI.com. The links, of course, will be relevant to the myriad sections on the CNN sites, such as Books, Style, Entertainment, News, Travel and so on.

With such agreements, the revenue growth rates for About.com should accelerate substantially.

There are also many e-commerce opportunities. For example, About.com signed an agreement with ShopNow.com. In the deal, ShopNow.com will build a co-branded shopping destination on About.com. Also, About.com users will have access to the 29,000 customers of ShopNow.com.

Despite all this, the stock has been languishing. Eventually, I think the stock will start to soar, as the momentum continues. Or, if the valuation stays low, I would not be surprised if another company takes advantage of the situation and buys it.


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