Type of site
Web search engine
Owner Disney Interactive
(The Walt Disney Company)
Launched January 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
Current status Closed

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.

In 1998, 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.[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

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

See also


  1. "Kirsch Foundation About the Founders". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  2. "Contacting Infoseek." Infoseek. July 2, 1997. Retrieved on January 20, 2010.
  3. 1 2 "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. 1 2 3 4 "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".
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