Lycos, one of the granddaddies of Internet portals, is heading in the right direction.
The site, which started out as a Yahoo competitor, touting its strength in search (remember the "Go fetch!" ads with the black labrador?) ultimately became a popular hangout for teens online. Absorbing community sites like Tripod and Angelfire, they were really on the cutting edge of stickiness, drawing young people in to build their own content and connect via online communities.
(The portal itself was purchased by Terra Networks in 2000, then shortly after by Daum.)
Now, in an effort to regain their place among the "in crowd", Lycos is launching Lycos Cinema. The new service adds a level of interactivity to the portal that may just return it to its former glory:
Lycos said it is using proprietary technology to enable viewers to watch synchronized videos on the Web. The company compared its ability to offer such a service with massive, never-ending online games such as Warcraft and Second Life, which host hundreds of thousands of players.
Lycos users will be able to watch films and create public chatrooms to invite other potential viewers. Viewers in any one particular viewing room can type comments on the window, while watching the movies that are streamed at the same time.
Sounds like a plan. And just in time for the new year -- hear that, media buyers?
Unlike YouTube, by the way, Lycos Cinema will accommodate full-length feature films. Uploading capabilities will be live by later this year/ early next.