RealTime IT News

Disney Shops Its Infoseek Search Assets

The Walt Disney Co. is reportedly shopping its Infoseek search engine patents and technology.

In fact, the media conglomerate has been approached by more than one sector player, Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of operations and business for Disney's Internet arm, told Reuters new service.

Neither the price ranges nor identities of possible buyers was disclosed.

In 1998, Disney, with an eye on creating a powerful portal, bought a 43 percent stake in Infoseek for $70 million in cash plus other considerations.

The two companies jointly launched a new service, Go.com in December 1998, but by the middle of 1999, around the peak of portal rage, the separate InfoSeek site had been closed and all traffic routed to Go.com.

As a web portal, Go.com didn't last long, either. After experimenting with several strategies, Disney shuttered the site in March, 2001, citing the online ad dropoff, among other factors. It later quietly re-opened Go.com as a portal solely for Disney online media properties.

InfoSeek launched its service in 1995 and had a strong reputation among both searchers and webmasters. It's unclear how valuable the remaining intellectual property is, however, it's currently a sellers' market.

Big players are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for companies and technology that will give them an edge in search, and especially in paid inclusion and placement.

For example, Overture recently announced plans to buy AltaVista and the Internet serach unit o Fast Search and Transfer, while Yahoo! aggressively moved to snap up Inktomi.

The shopping of Infoseek comes as Disney signs a deal with search leader Google for both algorithmic and paid search for a clutch of Disney's Internet sites.

Under terms of the deal, Google's editorial and paid search services are now on Go.com and will appear on Disney.com, Movies.com and FamilyFun.com in a few weeks.