InfoSpace

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InfoSpace, Inc.
Infospace-logo.png
Type of businessPublic
FoundedMarch 1996; 26 years ago (1996-03)
Dissolved2012 (renamed and InfoSpace business sold off in 2016)
Headquarters
U.S.
Founder(s)Naveen Jain

Infospace, Inc. was an American company that offered private label search engine, online directory, and provider of metadata feeds. The company's flagship metasearch site was Dogpile and its other notable consumer brands were WebCrawler and MetaCrawler. After a 2012 rename to Blucora, the InfoSpace business unit was sold to data management company OpenMail.[1]

History[edit]

The company was founded in March 1996 by Naveen Jain after he left Microsoft. The company started with six employees, and Jain served as CEO until 2000.[2] InfoSpace provided content and services, such as phone directories, maps, games and information on the stock market, to websites and mobile device manufacturers.[3] The company grew at low cost without funding using co-branding strategies. Rather than try to get traffic to an InfoSpace website, sites like Lycos, Excite and Playboy embedded InfoSpace's features and content into their site and added an InfoSpace icon to it. InfoSpace then earned money by taking a small percentage of licensing, subscription or advertising fees.[4] On December 15, 1998, InfoSpace went public under the ticker INSP, raising $75 million in the offering.[5]

By April 2000, InfoSpace was working with 1,500 websites, 60 content providers and 20 telecommunications companies.[3] InfoSpace was praised by Wall Street analysts and at its peak its market cap was $31 billion. It became the largest internet business in the American Northwest.[6] InfoSpace may have contributed to the inflated expectations in internet companies during the height of the dot-com bubble.[6][3] In July 2000, InfoSpace acquired Go2Net. After the merger, Go2Net CEO Russell Horowitz became president of InfoSpace.[7] The same year, InfoSpace used a controversial accounting method to report $46 million in profits when in fact it had lost $282 million. Company executives skirted SEC trading restrictions to sell large blocks of their personal stock.[8]

Jain resumed the role of CEO in 2001,[9] but was soon forced out by InfoSpace's board in December 2002.[10] By June 2002, the company's stock price, which reached $1,305 in March 2000,[11] had dropped sharply to $2.67.[2]

In December 2002, Jim Voelker assumed Jain's role as Chairman, CEO and President of InfoSpace.[12] Voelker shut down or sold many of InfoSpace's 12 businesses to focus on five core segments.[13] In 2003, InfoSpace acquired Moviso from Vivendi Universal Net USA.[14] In early March 2003, InfoSpace sued Jain alleging he violated non-compete agreements in his role at newly founded Intelius.[15] In April 2003, Jain resigned from the InfoSpace board.[16]

In 2004, InfoSpace acquired online yellow pages service Switchboard.[17] It also moved into the mobile games space, acquiring Atlas Mobile, IOMO and Elkware.[18][19][20] InfoSpace reported $249 million in revenue that year, up 89 percent from the previous year.[21]

In 2007, InfoSpace sold Atlas Mobile studio to Twistbox,[22] Moviso to mobile content tech firm FunMobility,[23] and IOMO re-emerged as FinBlade.[24] InfoSpace's directory services were acquired by Idearc for $225 million in September 2007,[25] while the remaining portions of InfoSpace Mobile were acquired by Motricity for $135 million in October 2007.[26]

In February 2009, Jim Voelker resigned as CEO and president but remained chairman. From February 2009 to November 2010, Will Lansing served as president and CEO.[27] Under Lansing's leadership, InfoSpace started an online auction website called haggle.com, but after one year the website was shut down and it's remaining assets were sold to BigDeal.com.[28]

Rename[edit]

In January 2012, InfoSpace acquired tax preparation software company TaxAct,[29] and to help differentiate its name from its new purchase, and that of its InfoSpace search unit, it rebranded as Blucora.[30] On April 21, 2014, Discovery Communications announced that they had sold HowStuffWorks to Blucora for $45 million.[31]

In July 2016, Blucora sold InfoSpace and HowStuffWorks to data analytics and data management company OpenMail for $45 million in cash.[32]

2003 shareholder lawsuit[edit]

In a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2003, a lower court federal judge ruled that former InfoSpace CEO, Naveen Jain, had purchased shares of InfoSpace in violation of six month short swing insider trading rules, and issued a $247 million judgment against him, the largest award of its kind at that time.[33] Jain appealed the ruling in 2005, and settled the case for $105 million, while denying liability. Jain's attempt to further litigate against his former lawyers for the loss was dismissed.[34][35][36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitchell, Dan (June 23, 2008). "Once an Internet Giant, InfoSpace Dismantles Itself". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Heath, David (March 6, 2005). "Dot-Con Job — Part 1: Dubious Deals — How InfoSpace took its investors for a ride: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Welles, Edward (July 1, 2001). "Options, Equity, Rancor". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Smarter than Bill". Red Herring. June 30, 1997. Archived from the original on February 19, 2002. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ A Fine IPO for InfoSpace from Wired
  6. ^ a b Heath, David (March 8, 2005). "Dot-con Job: Part 1: Dubious Deals". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ InfoSpace to buy Go2Net to expand content delivery
  8. ^ Heath, David (March 7, 2005). "Dot-Con Job — Part 2: Cashing Out — When times got tough, execs hid troubles, dumped stock". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "INFOSPACE INC, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jan 23, 2001" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "InfoSpace severs final ties with founder Jain". Puget Sound Business Journal. April 28, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  11. ^ The two faces of InfoSpace, 1998–2001
  12. ^ Kane, Margaret (December 23, 2002). "InfoSpace names new president, CEO". CNET. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Heath, David; Chan, Sharon Pian (March 8, 2005). "New management, tighter focus finally put InfoSpace in the black". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "InfoSpace to Acquire Moviso". The Wall Street Journal. October 21, 2003. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "InfoSpace sues ex-CEO Naveen Jain". The Economic Times. March 12, 2003. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Ex-InfoSpace CEO Jain Steps Down From Board". The Wall Street Journal. April 28, 2003. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Saranow, Jennifer (March 26, 2004). "InfoSpace Agrees to Acquire Switchboard for $160 Million". The Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  18. ^ Duffy, Jill (July 1, 2004). "InfoSpace Mobile Acquires Atlas". Gamasutra. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Fahey, Rob (December 2, 2004). "More mobile consolidation as InfoSpace buys IOMO". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  20. ^ "InfoSpace Signs Agreement to Acquire Mobile Games Company Elkware GmbH". GamesIndustry.biz. December 16, 2004. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Heath, David (March 7, 2005). "Dot-Con Job - Part 3: The Aftermath - New management, tighter focus finally put InfoSpace in the black". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  22. ^ "Twistbox Acquires Infospace Games". IGN Wireless. January 26, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "InfoSpace Unloads Moviso". TechCrunch. June 12, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  24. ^ O'Brien, Stuart (August 6, 2007). "FinBlade opens its doors". MCV. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  25. ^ "InfoSpace to Sell Assets to Idearc for $225 Million". CNBC. Associated Press. September 17, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  26. ^ Nicole, Kristen (October 15, 2007). "Motricity Acquires InfoSpace for $135M". Mashable. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  27. ^ Cook, John (February 5, 2009). "Voelker retires as CEO of InfoSpace; former VC takes over". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  28. ^ Engleman, Eric (November 2, 2010). "InfoSpace shuts down Haggle, sells assets to BigDeal.com". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  29. ^ "InfoSpace Buys Online Tax Solutions Company TaxACT For $287.5M In Cash". TechCrunch. January 9, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  30. ^ Fox, Ben (June 7, 2012). "InfoSpace becomes Blucora; new symbol's BCOR". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  31. ^ "Discovery Sells HowStuffWorks at 82% Loss After Seven Years". Bloomberg. April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  32. ^ "Blucora to sell InfoSpace business for $45 million". Seattle Times. July 5, 2016.
  33. ^ Heath, David (August 23, 2003). "Ex-InfoSpace chief ordered to pay $247 million penalty". Seattle Times. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  34. ^ Heath, David; Pian Chan, Sharon; Dot-con Job: Part 3: The Aftermath – Unusual ally: SEC, The Seattle Times, 2005.
  35. ^ Court turns down appeal from Infospace founder, Archived June 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine The Seattle Times, March 9, 2009.
  36. ^ "Press Release, dated December 22, 2004". www.sec.gov. Retrieved January 8, 2019.