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Wix.com sees full launch of key automatic website design tool in weeks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Wix.com WIX.O, which helps small businesses to build and operate websites, expects its new service that can automatically design a website in about a minute will be fully launched in a matter of weeks.

Flags with the logo of the website-designer firm Wix.com are shown in Tel Aviv, Israel July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The Israel-based company, which on Wednesday reported strong second quarter results that beat estimates, rolled out its Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) technology on a small-scale in June and says the initial response has been very favorable.

“It will be extremely positive for us,” Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh told Reuters, declining to estimate the exact impact ADI might have on business, but adding that it should be fully integrated “in a matter of weeks”.

The new service, Wix says, can build an entire website on its own. The program searches the internet and incorporates pictures and content the user may have previously posted online. It also accesses the company’s database to help fine tune the new website’s composition.

Wix raised its 2016 revenue guidance to $278-$280 million from a previous forecast of $274-$277 million, and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) outlook to $34-$36 million from $30-$32 million.

Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services.

During the second quarter it added 5.1 million registered users to reach a total of 87 million and a record 183,000 paid subscribers to reach 2.12 million.

The company reported a second quarter loss of 9 cents a share excluding one-time items, versus a 21 cent loss a year earlier. Revenue grew 41 percent to $68.7 million.

It was forecast to lose 12 cents a share on revenue of $66.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the third quarter it forecast revenue of $72-$73 million for year on year growth of 32-34 percent and EBITDA of $9-$10 million.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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