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Disney may sell INFOSEEK
buyers knocking

 4:50 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

HollyWoodReporter.com [hollywoodreporter.com]

Wow, I wonder if they will have near instant inclusion again :)



 4:57 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Any guesses on who's wanting to buy?

my guess is Overture.

jeremy goodrich

 5:00 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Now that is interesting indeed. I even got a referral from them since they switched from Overture to Google. :)

While that isn't much, InfoSeek when I started on the net in 95, was my default engine. It stayed that way until 97 or 98, I think, when I switched to Altavista, 'cause I heard it was better.

As for the real time indexing bit, Gigablast Search Engine [gigablast.com] has real time spidering already - and is run by a former software engineer from InfoSeek's glory days, when they had traffic, an algo, and seriously good results (imho).

But what would somebody do with it, now? And considering FAST's Search Engine Alltheweb.com [alltheweb.com] went for a 'paltry' $75 million, what would anybody put as the market for the InfoSeek brand name? Disney did a pretty good job of ruining it, imho, and I don't think it's even worth a tenth what Alltheweb.com was worth, not even 1/20th.

Perhaps a million, then. Surely it's worth that. For $1 million and then with a group of dedicated people, you could probably create an engine that would attract a cult following pretty fast - as long as it had the right ingredients.

Perhaps LookSmart or even Gigablast :) could consider buying the brand name to expand market reach, or somebody else with 'upstart' plans.


 5:18 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think it said in another article that is was the patents and technology they were buying. What kind of Patents does Infoseek own I wonder? And do they have any technology that's not outdated?


 5:32 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Infoseek owns a patent for a method of searching multiple databases on the Web. (Distributed Search Patent)

Infoseek's patent covers technology that allows its search engine to use third-party engines to gather and collate information.

So, does this mean that Meta-Search engines are in violation?

Who would benefit from buying this patent?


 5:39 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

InfoSeek when I started on the net in 95, was my default engine. It stayed that way until 97 or 98...

Ditto here Jeremy. Infoseek used to be cutting edge in the good ole days :)


 5:53 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Infoseek used to be cutting edge in the good ole days :)

Remember the "instant submit" feature? (Or was it called "instant update"?).

I loved InfoSeek--not only was it the Google of its day, but I ranked in the top 1 to 5 spots for nearly all the search terms that mattered to me. :-)


 7:04 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know how most of Infoseek's algos work in detail since I designed some of them. The code base was definitely one of the best at the time but now I think it's somewhat outdated. For instance, among other things, it does not have cached web pages, it does not have dynamic summaries and, most importantly, it does not scale very well. The code is a bunch of little islands all kind of inefficiently glued together due to the time constraints imposed on the engineers. There were only about five or so people that really knew the code base fairly well, and there's not much documentation for it, so I wonder who's going to interpret it.

I also know that Seek had to enter into a joint ownership of its technology patents, too, since it sold its desktop search division (Ultraseek) to Inktomi, who recently sold it to Verity.


 7:19 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

2 Billion! Jeeze, they got ripped off pretty good. They will be lucky if they get 2 Million.


 9:40 am on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)


any chance of you sharing some of that information/knowledge here on webmasterworld?



 12:43 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's interesting how many 'ole timers' (in Internet years) vividly remember InfoSeek. I, as many others, remember it fondly because it was my favorite in the 95-97 period.

I was so excited to get one of my first clients in the top slot with "fax machines" when the total count was 1,260! (yes, I remember it was EXACTLY 1,260 results) - Some things we don't forget.

When AltaVista started showing more relevent results, I switched. Then when AV weighed it down with line after line after line of advertisements to the point I couldn't find the NEXT link - it was GOOGLE all the way!

It's a different world now boys and girls......

PS: There's an excellent article in USA Today (online) that discusses the 'old' days of 94, 95, 96 on the Internet.

For example, it says there were 100,000 websites in 1995! Many of us here at WebmasterWorld owned a MAJOR chunk of the internet market in those days - even if we only had a single website......


 2:08 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>near instant inclusion again

thats was great for us, especially when there were a smaller group that knew, but it became part of its downfall... You cant work out relevance and check spam instantly.


 5:26 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's interesting how many 'ole timers' (in Internet years) vividly remember InfoSeek.

They had an email address for those who were submitting more than 50 -- or was it 100? -- urls at a time.

Any guesses on who's wanting to buy?

I'd guess Google.

jeremy goodrich

 5:31 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

So the pitch about the 'patents' may be overblown a bit...I still believe they are selling the brand value alone :)

Come one, let's ante up some figures - $2 million?

That could be reasonable...but, there are a ton of web users that weren't online in 95 so outside of the group that was, it would still be an uphill battle for anybody to resurect the thing.

Somebody else - anybody - what do ya'll think InfoSeek is worth then? If their patents are worthless...it's brand name / old code that might / not work, etc that any purchaser would be getting.


 5:35 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

It'd likely be a good purchase for WiseNut or even a little/new player like GigaBlast who have a fair to decent product but no name recognition. Not sure what kind of value you'd slap on it in that scenario, though...



 5:37 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

So what about it Matt- got $2 million? ;)


 8:16 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since they haven't been using the InfoSeek technology for a long time, I assume they don't employ any significant number of SE engineers (if any at all), so it doesn't seem like there's a lot to buy.

As I recall, InfoSeek was really easy to get good rankings on because it seemed to heavily favor domain name and meta element keywords.


 8:32 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

My guess it's Overture. It doesn't really matter if the technology is still valid. It's just about taking every possible option off the table. The patents have value because the give them more ammunition to combat competitors. That's the only reason they bought AV and I'm sure it's why they would be interested in Infoseek.

jeremy goodrich

 9:08 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Re: the LookSmart option - no chance. They're an MSN sneeze away from being TOAST.

There is no way they're going to buy, yet another crappy engine that most people have forgotten when they can't get people to use the Good One that they already bought.

Overture - sure, that's a possibility. Since they have been on a buying spree, I'm sure there is some logic there with the patents and what not.

The technology, at this point, simply can't be that good...it's never been used on a web this large, this complex, etc.

We've even got one of their former engineers ( the guy who designed a lot of it! ) confirming that their tech is pretty useless compared to the sophistication of other engines already on the market.

Yahoo - they could buy, I suppose. Another domain? A link with the past, for when they beef up and drop Google to go all in house with their own engine from Inktomi?

Google could buy it - for historic reasons if nothing else :) I don't think they would get much out of it, if anything at all.

FindWhat - that would be interesting, wouldn't it? It's possible they could make a play - I have no idea how well they are doing, but it could give them legs to start attracting more market / etc...and as the more or less 'official' 3rd teri PPC behind Overture and AdWords, they best think about diversification at some point, what with Overture buying regular SE's these days. :)

Come on, where is rcjordan and his crystall ball? He made a dead on prediction for Excite back in the day...a year before it happened, even.


 10:17 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow, what a blast from the past!
Submit a url ever 24 hours, wait 60 minutes, and voila' - there it is!

Those were the days...

But who in the world is going to get suckered into this now? What could infoseek possibly have to offer?

I'll give them 5K for it, and hope to recoup the loss by selling retro infoseek mousepads and coffee mugs to everyone here and at slashdot... :)


 10:28 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>My guess it's Overture. It doesn't really matter if the technology is still valid. It's just about taking every possible option off the table.

The crystal ball says...

"Why are you bothering me, RC? Listen to WebGuerrilla!"


 10:39 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps LookSmart or even Gigablast

Looksmart has Wisenut (and it is dead already, imho).
If Gigablast had $, he would surely buy hardware & connectivity and build it himself.

But what would be interesting is to buy Infoseek+Gigablast... Matt Dwells has technology and experience, Infoseek has name, history and computers. This bundle could work good together.


Overture: already has 2 search engines - it will probably merge them, they don't need more (trouble).
Google: doesn't need it.


My guess: Findwhat, eSpotting or noone.


 11:22 pm on Mar 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm - the first question has to be why - once you decide on that then you have a lead on who.

Why 1 - Technology - unlikely

Why 2 - Patents - possible - one of the majors looking for the distributed search stuff. (or maybe even IBM - they are planning a big launch if I remember correctly.)

Why 3 - Brand - possible - would rule out Google, Overture, Yahoo, AJ/Teoma so would indicate a lesser player or a new entrant - Maybe IBM again, Openfind (quick route into US), Looksmart, ESpotting

Why 4 - Market Positioning - any of the players might want it for this reason. My thinking is that Overture may have deep pockets but three in a month woukd be ridiculous. Yahoo to compete with Overture? - unlikely Yahoo need an alternative PPC solution. AJ/Teoma - possible for more US penetration. Google? - acquisition seems to be the in thing at the plex at the moment - but Google's view seems to be just that little bit wider than a tired old SE.

I'll take a flyer on IBM or AJ/Teoma


 3:58 am on Mar 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

"In fact, the media conglomerate has been approached by more than one sector player, Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of operations and business for Disney's Internet arm, told Reuters new service.

Neither the price ranges nor identities of possible buyers was disclosed."

So, there are multiple bidders. The plot thickens!


 6:40 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whoever buys Infoseek gets a website with a PageRank 9, about 250.000 links, according to Alltheweb.com, and a brand name that attracts experienced internet users and makes them talk of the good old days.

The only company that could use these ingredients for their business model is Overture, I think. Take the FAST technology and add the brands of Altavista and Infoseek and you may get a good search engine. (If you can avoid the urge to clutter up the SERPs with your PPC ads ...)


 6:45 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Which begs the question, will Google use the expired domain algo on infoseek?


 5:02 pm on Mar 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is www.infoseek.com regarded as an expired domain? It's a redirection to infoseek.go.com - but this is also the case with e.g. www.yahoo.de which is redirected to de.yahoo.com.

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