Lycos has set up a new strategic alliances department to develop ad-funded content deals with brands.
The new department is headed by Adrian Moxley, who was previously sales director of Lycos. The initiative is being rolled out in the UK first, but the company plans to extend it across its European network.
Angeles Lopez, managing director for sales at Lycos Europe, said she expected brands to commit to spending between $2m (&£1.08m) and $5m (&£2.7m) for each deal.
The company is close to signing up a mobile handset maker and a large packaged goods firm, although no deals have yet been finalised. Lycos will develop new online tools and services for these brands.
“We’re not selling them advertising we’re selling them anything but advertising. We’re building content or an application that will get across what the marketing communication is,” says Moxley. “It’s a brand giving away something to the consumer free and wrapping its messages around it.”
The portal, which operates in 11 countries, will act as a pan-European distribution platform for the services, which could also move offline.
Lycos is approaching clients directly rather than going through their agencies, due to the potentially complex nature of the projects.
Lycos has around 5 million users in the UK, and 28 million around Europe, with the average user in the 16 to 34 age range.