RealTime IT News

WEBDEX: Lycos Gains Users, Value Gap Emerges?

The latest WEBDEX shows Lycos (NASDAQ:LCOS) has been on a hunting spree that has pushed it from number seven to four in the top 10 Web site rankings. With the buys Lycos grew 22% in users. Yet AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo users all are valued at more than twice to three times the spidersite turned community hub. In doppler fashion that may mean its valuation per user hasn't caught up with the shift.

Mecklermedia's

August

July

Sept 9

Sept 16

Sept 9

Sept 16

Percent

WEBDEX

Users

User

Market cap or PMV*

Market cap or PMV*

User

User

change

(millions)

rank

(millions)

(millions)

Value

Value

Yahoo

26.1

1

$7,495

$8,748

$287

$335

16.7%

AOL.com*

21.8

2

$2,550

$2,700

$117

$124

5.9%

Microsoft.com*

19.6

3

$2,250

$2,350

$115

$120

4.4%

Lycos

17.6

7

$927

$977

$53

$55

5.4%

Excite

16.6

5

$1,326

$1,473

$80

$89

11.1%

Netscape.com*

16.3

4

$1,750

$1,850

$107

$113

5.7%

MSN.com/Hotmail*

15.6

6

$1,225

$1,100

$79

$71

-10.2%

GeoCities

15.5

8

$782

$728

$50

$47

-6.9%

Infoseek

11.0

9

$600

$649

$54

$59

8.2%

Disney.com*

10.4

10

$1,100

$1,200

$105

$115

9.1%

TOTAL

170.5

$20,004

$21,775

$1,048

$1,128

7.7%

AVERAGE

17.1

$2,000

$2,177

$105

$113

7.7%

*PMV=private market valuation estimate for Website only based on comparables (c) 1998 Mecklermedia (NASDAQ:MECK) User numbers from Relevant Knowledge, rkinc.com; all others from Internet Stock Report

This could suggest that Wall Street values LCOS in the same vein as GeoCities (NASDAQ:GCTY), which on a WEBDEX basis trades near each other.

The overall average for the top 10 Web sites (or Web site divisions only for multiple sided companies) popped 7.7% to $113 since September 9.

The average without Yahoo is $88 per user, more in line with Excite (NASDAQ:XCIT). With the pending paunch of more sites we allocate a higher PMV on Disney.com at $1.2 billion.

That may help Infoseek (NASDAQ:SEEK) once it's clear who's who and what's what with its pending deal with the Magic Kingdom. As you recall, Disney agreed to acquire a 43% in SEEK and merge its Starwave interests. Infoseek, by the way, announced a new search tool September 16 that it calls Express which will offer "meta searches" of all the engines/guides in one go from the browser.

August vs. July Users

Website

Aug vs. July users

Yahoo

-1.9%

AOL.com*

-1.1%

Excite

-4.5%

Netscape.com*

-7.5%

Microsoft.com*

5.5%

MSN.com/Hotmail*

-4.6%

GeoCities

8.8%

Lycos

22.1%

Infoseek

-9.4%

Disney.com*

8.2%

source: Relevant Knowledge; analysis ISR

Geocities, Microsoft and Disney were the only two other sites shown to gain users in August vs. July's tally from Relevant Knowledge.

In the rankings Netscape (NASDAQ:NSCP) dropped from fourth to sixth. It's announcing a deal with telco upstart QWEST today that may boost its ranking over time. Netscape perhaps needs a community aspect that could boost its numbers and add depth to Netcenter as a place to be and build and buy. For that matter, so does Yahoo and Microsoft. Yahoo's Clubs are one flavor but there are flavor and flavor(s).

AOL told investment conference attendees on September 15 at a Nationsbank Montgomery Securities conference in San Francisco that its goal for 1999 is to get half of all new Internet users on AOL. AOL president Bob Pittmann said that about 15 million of 23 million U.S. Internet households use AOL as the gateway.

With such high volume coming through its cached servers, that could translate into higher numbers in the overall AOL.com numbers here. If counted fully cached, we suspect AOL may be ranked first, and we're not counting AOL online-only users since chances are they use both AOL Online and AOL.com. The line blurs every second for those who've followed the design of AOL.com.

One of the more interesting notions about WEBDEX is that users are likely to visit perhaps two or three of the above sites. It is the McDonalds-Burger King scenario. One day you have lunch at one and the next at another.

So with Web sites can you be valued at $335 while perusing Yahoo and then $71 as you check HotMail? Absolutely. One surrounds you with commerce and content while the other lacks the shelves to put things for sale on.

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