Now it's the World Wide 'Wanted' Web

Forget about the wanted posters in your local post office.

The FBI is now going after the criminals on its "10 Most Wanted" list using pop-up banner ads on the myriad Web sites owned and operated by the Terra Lycos Inc. network.

In an announcement today, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston and the Boston office of the FBI announced that the first-ever FBI Most Wanted banner ad has been placed on the Lycos home page; it's a wanted poster seeking Boston organized crime figure James "Whitey" Bulger.

Previously, Web users could see the Top 10 list only by going directly to the FBI home page. The list has been online since 1995.

Bulger, who is being sought on charges including murder, racketeering, extortion and money laundering, has been on the list since August 1999. A $1 million reward is being offered for information that leads to his capture.

Starting today, visitors to the Lycos home page can see an ad banner that changes periodically to the Bulger wanted ad; they can click on it to go directly to the FBI's Web site for more information on Bulger and the rest of the criminals on the most-wanted list.

Gail Marcinkiewicz, a special agent and spokeswoman for the FBI in Boston, said the members of the FBI Bulger Fugitive Task Force "are always brainstorming about what to do to find" the criminals on the list. "The more we put things out there in the media, the more likelihood of success."

The FBI isn't paying for the ads, which are being displayed as a public service by Terra Lycos. The company is based in Madrid and has U.S. offices in Waltham, Mass.

Bulger has been a fugitive since 1995 and was the 458th person to be placed on the FBI list, Marcinkiewicz said. Of the 475 fugitives who have been placed on the list since the inception of the program in 1950, 446 have been apprehended, including 145 who were caught because of tips from citizens, she said. The first person ever on the list was Thomas James Holden, who was wanted for a triple murder in Chicago in 1949.

Similar listings could follow on other Web sites, she said. "It could be the first of many," she said. "It's really kind of an experiment to see what happens."

Mark Stoever, vice president of operations for Terra Lycos in the U.S., said the online pop-up ads can be more effective because they can be updated on the fly, as opposed to the old-fashioned wanted posters in post offices. "The Internet completely blows [post offices] away in the in the amount of people you can reach."

The Bulger wanted ads will be distributed in English across the Lycos Network around the world and will be distributed in Spanish on, which draws heavy Internet traffic from Latin America.

The Terra Lycos network of sites includes Terra in 17 countries, Lycos in 25 countries,,,,,,, and

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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