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Type of site
Web search engine
OwnerDisney Interactive
(The Walt Disney Company)
LaunchedJanuary 10, 1994; 24 years ago (1994-01-10)
Current statusClosed

Infoseek was a popular internet search engine founded in 1994 by Steve Kirsch.[1]

Infoseek was originally operated by the Infoseek Corporation, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.[2] Infoseek was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 1999,[3] and the technology was merged with that of the Disney-acquired Starwave to form the network.[4]


By September 1997, Infoseek had 7.3 million visitors per month.[5] It bought out the WebChat Broadcasting System in April 1998.

In 1998, Disney purchased a 43% stake of Infoseek, and incorporated the site into its various media businesses. Around the same time, Disney acquired the Starwave Corporation, which included and[6] In 1999, Disney acquired the remaining Infoseek stock it didn't own. Disney bundled its Starwave properties and Infoseek and formed the portal.[3]

Infoseek was among the first search engines to sell advertising on a CPM, Cost Per Thousand Impressions, basis.[7] In 1997, the first Cost Per Click programs, as well as the precursor to pop-ups called daughter windows, was sold by east coast sales executive Robert Formentin to Grey Advertising for a Procter & Gamble Pampers campaign.[citation needed]

In 1998, Infoseek was the first internet company to develop and launch behavioral targeting via its UltraMatch targeting algorithms.[citation needed] In 1999, Infoseek engineer Li Yanhong moved to Beijing, China and co-founded the search engine Baidu.[6] In February 2001, Disney decided to cancel the service and lay off all staff.[8] Also in 2001, Bernt Wahl, Andy Bensky and 15 software engineers, all Infoseek employees, led a management buyout attempt from Disney but were ultimately rebuffed.[6]

Infoseek's Ultraseek Server software technology, an enterprise search engine product, was sold in 2000 to Inktomi.[6] Under Inktomi, Ultraseek Server was renamed "Inktomi Enterprise Search". In December 2002 (prior to the Yahoo! 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 Autonomy PLC. Under Autonomy, Ultraseek ceased to be a stand-alone product and became a modular component under the IDOL platform. It continued to be developed and marketed as Autonomy's entry-level keyword-based site search offering until after Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in October 2011.

Domain name[edit]

The "" domain name redirects to the "" website. The brand name Infoseek is only used in Australia[9] and Japan.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kirsch Foundation About the Founders". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  2. ^ "Contacting Infoseek." Infoseek. July 2, 1997. Retrieved on January 20, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Disney absorbs Infoseek - Jul. 12, 1999". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  4. ^ "Mike Slade on 80s Microsoft, NeXT, Starwave and Steve Jobs' Return to Apple". Internet History Podcast. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  5. ^ "Infoseek - a history (from WebSerch)". 2009-05-01. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  6. ^ a b c d "Short History of Early Search Engines – The History of SEO". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  7. ^ "Media Transparency Standoff: 20 Years In The Making - Media Management, Inc". Media Management Inc. 2016-09-01. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  8. ^ "Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved | Search Engine Watch". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  9. ^ "Infoseek Australia".
  10. ^ "楽天が運営するポータルサイト : 【インフォシーク】Infoseek".

External links[edit]