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Yahoo!'s Advice: Call Someone, Now

Continuing with what is now a long-term effort to bolster its ad revenue with paid services, Web portal Yahoo! Inc. is launching Yahoo! Advice, a co-branded, fee-based service offered in partnership with New York City-based LiveAdvice.

LiveAdvice says it offers "reliable, trusted Advisors" who, for a per-minute fee, can provide advice by phone "about money, health, love or anything..."

Yahoo! said that the service will offer its users access to thousands of advisers who can provide information in more than 100 categories including computing, careers, business, education, parenting and astrology.

The system uses the LiveAdvice feedback mechanism that allows callers to rate the performance of each adviser.

Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed, but the deal clearly ratifies the business model of privately held LiveAdvice, which changed its name from InfoRocket last October.

"By entering into this agreement with LiveAdvice, we are executing on Yahoo!'s overall strategy to develop deeper and richer services for consumers, while realizing maximized financial returns," said Mark Hull, director of community services at Yahoo!.

Yahoo! Advice will be promoted across the Yahoo! network on services such as < a href="http://geocities.yahoo.com">Yahoo!GeoCities and Yahoo!Groups. Yahoo! is offering users the first call free and a cash-back program (5 percent to 8 percent) for those who spend $25 or more in any given month.

Each adviser sets his or her own per-minute rate for phone and/or recorded advice. The per-minute rate includes Yahoo!'s long distance charge of 16 cents per minute. Yahoo! users, once registered, simply dial 1-866-4LIVEADVICE.

Yahoo! for the past 18 months or so has been attempting to find alternative revenue sources as Internet advertising has slumped. For the first quarter of 2002, revenues for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company totaled $192.7 million -- above analysts' expected $186 million. But on the bottom line, Yahoo! posted its sixth-straight quarterly net loss -- $53.6 million, or 9 cents per share.

Yahoo! has now been reporting steadily increasing revenue for two straight quarters. In recent months it has increased both its paid services (switching to fee-based e-mail, for instance) and its enterprise products, including HotJobs' recruitment services.