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RealTime IT News

Going...Going...

After a ninth-month hiatus, go.com, the Web search engine, re-emerged Friday with a new plan, changing its look and focus.

The newly unveiled site will no longer attempt to be a catch-all portal emulating the likes of AOL and Yahoo. Instead go.com is now a specialty portal, putting its emphasis on the lifestyle and leisure arenas as well as building on the popular name of parent company the Walt Disney Company .

One major change in the redesigned site is that it relies more on searches and presents opportunities for users to type in queries and retrieve specific answers. Auctions and celebrity interviews are offered on go.com, while chat rooms are de-emphasized. Additionally, the site boasts large banner ads and more ad space throughout.

According to Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Internet Group, the goal, for now, is to improve user traffic and increase revenue. "Profits are still two to three years out and depend on a lot of variables," he said.

Redesign efforts began last January when The Walt Disney Internet Group , the Internet business of the Disney Company, temporarily pulled the plug on the site. At that time, the company had lost $1 billion the previous year of which a large part was attributed to Disney's purchase of search engine Infoseek.

The consensus was that Disney would continue to lose millions more trying to narrow the gap between itself and the five major portals, including Microsoft Corp, Lycos and excite@home.

The goal of the redesign was to bolster the company's Web assets, such as disney.com, abc.com, Mr.Showbiz, family.com and espn.com, as well as take the lead from other entertainment conglomerates that have built on already popular brand names instead of serving as a general interest portal offering an expansive range of content.