Infoseek was a popular search engine founded in 1994 by Steve Kirsch.
Infoseek was originally operated by the Infoseek Corporation, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Infoseek was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 1998, and the technology was merged with that of the Disney-acquired Starwave to form the Go.com network. Since then it has been replaced with Yahoo! search and is no longer in use.
Infoseek featured a very complex system of search modifiers, including boolean modifiers such as the most basic "OR" and "NOT", parentheses, and quotes, up to being able to say that one wanted one word or phrase to appear within x number of words from another word or phrase.
Before being bought by Disney, Infoseek also offered a free web hosting package. It was free of advertising, and had no limit on the amount of file storage space that could be used. Advertising was added after the Disney purchase.
By September 1997, Infoseek boasted 7.3 million visitors per month. It bought out the WebChat Broadcasting System in April 1998. Infoseek was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 1998, and the technology was merged with that of the Disney-acquired Starwave to form the Go.com network.
Infoseek was the first search engine to sell advertising on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) basis. In 1996, then east coast Sales Manager, Robert Formentin sold the first Cost Per Click programs as well as the precursor to pop-ups called daughter windows to Grey Advertising for a Procter & Gamble Pampers campaign. In 1997 Infoseek was the first internet company to develop and launch behavioral targeting via its UltraMatch targeting algorithms.
In 1999, Infoseek engineer Li Yanhong moved to Beijing, China and co-founded the search engine Baidu.
In February 2001, Disney made the decision to cancel the service and lay off the entire staff. Eventually, the hosting service was shut down.
In 2001 Bernt Wahl, Andy Bensky and 15 software engineers—Infoseek employees—led a management buyout attempt from Disney but were ultimately rebuffed.
Infoseek's Ultraseek Server software technology, an enterprise search engine product, was sold in 2000 to Inktomi. Under Inktomi, Ultraseek Server was renamed "Inktomi Enterprise Search". In December 2002 (prior to Yahoo's acquisition of Inktomi), the Ultraseek product suite was sold to a competitor Verity Inc, who re-established the Ultraseek brand name and continued development of the product.
In December 2005, Verity was acquired by UK company Autonomy PLC. Under Autonomy, Ultraseek continues to be actively developed and marketed as Autonomy's entry-level keyword-based site search offering.
Today, the "infoseek.com" domain name forwards to the "go.com" website. The brand name of Infoseek is now completely unused in North America; however it is still operating as Infoseek Japan.
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