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 [email protected].

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.

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