Disney Commutes Go.com’s Death Sentence

LOS ANGELES — Go.com will be staying, the Walt Disney Co. said Monday, announcing that rather than close the Web portal it will maintain the site using a former rival’s technology to power its search engine.

Disney (DIS) launched a redesigned site quietly last Wednesday, replacing its extensive series of articles and its powerful Infoseek search engine with links to content on other Disney-owned sites, including abcnews.com and espn.com.

In place of Infoseek – which Disney acquired in 1998 in order to launch its Go.com portal – searches will be performed by GoTo.com.

Last May, Disney agreed to pay Pasadena-based GoTo.com $21.5 million to settle a copyright-infringement lawsuit.
When Disney launched its portal, the site used an emblem that had the word “Go” written in white letters on a green traffic light inside a square yellow case.

GoTo’s (GOTO) logo had its name spelled in white on a green circle atop a yellow rectangle.

In January, the Walt Disney Internet Group said it would lay off 400 workers and shutter its money-losing Web portal. It said it would also sell some of its assets, including the Infoseek search engine.

Disney said Monday the decision to keep Go.com alive was made after “the opportunity presented itself” to make money from the traffic that still flows to Go.com.

“We can maintain the page at very little cost by taking feeds from our other sites,” Michelle Bergman, Disney Internet Group spokeswoman, said. “We can still drive traffic to our sites and leverage our traffic as an asset.”
Ms. Bergman wouldn’t disclose the terms of the deal. Calls placed to GoTo.com weren’t immediately returned. “It’s a good situation for both us and them,” Ms. Bergman said.

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.