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Infoseek and Disney Prep for New Portal

After weeks of speculation, Infoseek Corp. and The Walt Disney Company officially announced details today concerning the portal site the companies are co-developing.

Dubbed Go Network, the site will be available in a preview release later this year, according to Infoseek President and CEO Harry Motro and Buena Vista Internet Group Chairman Jake Winebaum.

As reported last week in InternetNews.com, an Infoseek spokeswomen confirmed the site would launch sometime in November.

On June 18, The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire a 43% stake in Infoseek Corp. in exchange for Disney's ownership position in Starwave and $70 million in cash. Last week, the Infoseek spokeswoman said the portal would operate as an umbrella brand, combining the resources of Infoseek, Starwave and Disney properties, including ESPN.com, ABCNEWS.com, Mr. Showbiz, Wall of Sound, and others.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Go Network is to replace Infoseek as a portal, and the Infoseek name would be used only as a search and directory tool. The WSJ also said that according to company sources, it is probable that Infoseek will change its corporate name to Go Network, Inc.

Last week a company spokeswoman said, "It (Infoseek) will not go away as a site or a brand, but it will come under the portal brand and be part of a network."

In an effort to extend Internet offerings from merely providing search engine functionality to becoming an all-encompassing hub or portal, Go Network is in a tight race for users with rivals Yahoo!; Lycos, Inc.; Excite; America Online Inc.; Netscape; and Microsoft.

In today's press release, Infoseek cited a July 1998 Relevant Knowledge report indicating, the company said, that upon the launch of Go Network it would have the third largest unduplicated reach on the Internet in terms of unique visitors and would rank ahead of Microsoft and Netscape and behind Yahoo and AOL.

"This alliance brings together an incredible combination of assets: great content, strong brands, superior technology and tremendous marketing horsepower," said Winebaum. "Go Network is an exciting new brand and product that we will put our collective resources behind."

"Go Network is a cutting-edge initiative that fits perfectly with our company's overall mission," said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "And that mission is to provide quality entertainment and information to audiences at a wide range of established and emerging ventures."

"The Internet is providing a dynamic new way to engage our audiences in the comfort of their homes," Eisner said. "With Go Network, we are making clear that we intend to seize this opportunity and be just a click away from consumers around the globe."