Yahoo Inc. is producing and marketing the official Web site for the FIFA World Cup in Germany. It also produced the Web site for the 2002 World Cup, held in Japan and South Korea. That year, the site registered more than 2 billion page views, and Yahoo hopes to top that number this year. Santa Monica-based Yahoo Sports is in charge of the Web site, which boasts free video highlights and editorial content in nine languages. About 50 sports journalists from 20 countries are contributing play-by-play coverage, features and interviews. It offers a mobile version of the site with free SMS text-message alerts delivered to users' cell phones. Yahoo is even tapping its successful fantasy sports leagues to offer fantasy soccer for the cup, though it's unclear if "the other fantasy football" will catch hold. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed back in 2001, when FIFA and Yahoo inked the five-year deal. Official co-sponsors of the site include Anheuser-Busch Co., MasterCard Inc., Coca-Cola Co., McDonalds Corp., Royal Philips Electronics NV, and Adidas AG.


Hire Education


Social networking Web site and pop culture phenomenon MySpace.com now promises to help you find a date and a job. The News Corp.-owned social site just partnered with Simply Hired Inc., an online job search engine boasting 5 million listings. MySpace Jobs, as the service will be called, will help the sites' more than 52 million young users find work. (The positions will presumably be desk jobs that will allow them plenty of time to surf the Web and update their MySpace profiles.)


The partnership is the latest in a string of synergies promised when News Corp. acquired the hipster social site last year for $580 million. Fox Interactive Media, the division that handles MySpace, invested $13.5 million in Mountainview-based Simply Hired in April, and says it plans to bring the job-search function to several of its online properties.


Among other synergies between Fox and MySpace is a recent promotional campaign to sell downloadable episodes of the hit series "24" to MySpace users through a sponsorship deal with Burger King.


Class Act


One way to end a lawsuit is to buy the company you're suing. L.A.-based Reunion.com Inc., a social networking site based on school reunion opportunities, has acquired My Address Book LLC, ending a patent infringement lawsuit Reunion.com had filed against the company. Richard Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of Intermix, the company behind social networking site MySpace, backs Reunion.com. Since News Corp. acquired Intermix last year, Rosenblatt has assumed a consulting role with the company, so he has some time and money on his hands.


Reunion.com has been suing companies such as MyAddressbook.com and Plaxo, another contacts-based online program, claiming they have infringed on one of Reunion's patents. The lawsuits center on an automatic updating feature that keeps track of friends and acquaintances as they move. Terms of the My Address Book acquisition were not disclosed. Plaxo said last month that it intends to defend itself against the lawsuit.


Revving Up


Santa Monica-based Zag Inc., owner of Autoland and other online car-buying sites, has acquired Automotive Invitational Services, the company that serves a dozen American Automobile Association clubs. These types of collectives of customers, or "affinity groups" that all belong to a club or institution, are Zag's bread-and-butter. Zag acquired Autoland, which serves more than 300 West Coast credit unions, in November.


The AIS deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, gives Zag another 6 million members read potential customers for its online car buying services. About 85 percent of people who bought a new car last year did research online, according to Scott Painter, Zag's chief executive.


Zag's online auto-purchasing program also serves as a lead-generating service for dealers; customers interested in buying a car will use the site, then comparison shop to select their car and the price.


Staff reporter Hilary Potkewitz can be reached at hpotkewitz@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.

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