Clear Net goes with Looksmart for NZ search, portal

Partnership follows BT joint venture

In what may be a sign of things to come, Clear Net has introduced the Looksmart search engine part-owned by Clear's parent company British Telecom as the key search facility on its Website.

The search and directory service will operate as a New Zealand-focused search engine and portal, listing New Zealand sites first, followed by overseas ones where relevant. Clear Net says Looksmart already has 25,000 New Zealand Web sites listed by category and keyword search.

Advertising on the site will be sold by LookSmart, with a percentage of the advertising revenue paid to Clear.

The Clear partnership follows the announcement in November of a joint venture between LookSmart and BT, Clear’s 100% shareholder. The joint venture, to create and distribute portal services throughout Europe and Asia, is expected to be worth about $US200 million.

While Clear is LookSmart’s first New Zealand partner, there is no exclusivity to the arrangement and other sites may run the search engine in future.

Clear has been expected to reveal Internet and e-commerce offerings arising from its BT connection this year. Others that may unfold are BT's StoreCentre e-commerce product, which is powered by Intel's iCat software, and BT Trustwise, BT's own secure digital certificate issuing service.

Other search engines will still be available through Clear Net, under a pop-down menu, says spokeswoman Rochelle Lockley.

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