Type of site
Search engine
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerDisney Interactive
LaunchedJanuary 1994; 30 years ago (1994-01)
Current statusClosed as of 1999

Infoseek (also known as the "big yellow"[1]) was an American internet search engine founded in 1994 by Steve Kirsch.[2]

Infoseek was originally operated by the Infoseek Corporation, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.[3] Infoseek was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 1999,[4] and the technology was merged with that of the Disney-acquired Starwave to form the network.[5]


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Infoseek" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Infoseek launched in January 1994 as a pay-for-use service.[1] The service was dropped in August 1994 and Infoseek was relaunched as Infoseek search in February 1995.[1]

In 1995, Infoseek struck a deal with Netscape to become the default search engine on Netscape Navigator.[1]

On June 11, 1996, Infoseek's initial public offering started trading on Nasdaq (under the name SEEK) at $12 per share.[6]

By September 1997, Infoseek had 7.3 million visitors per month.[7] It was the 7th most visited website that year (5th in 1996) and 10th in 1998.[8] Infoseek acquired the WebChat Broadcasting System in April 1998.[9]

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[1] In 1999, Disney acquired the remaining Infoseek stock it didn't own. Disney bundled its Starwave properties and Infoseek and formed the portal.[4]

Infoseek was among the first search engines to sell advertising on a CPM, Cost Per Thousand Impressions, basis.[1] In 1997, the first Cost Per Click programs, as well as the precursor to pop-ups called daughter windows, was sold to Grey Advertising for a Procter & Gamble Pampers campaign.[10]

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.[1] In February 2001, Disney decided to cancel the service and lay off all staff. 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.[11]


Infoseek's Ultraseek Server software technology, an enterprise search engine product, was sold in 2000 to Inktomi.[1] 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.

Rakuten agreed in November 2000 to acquire Infoseek Japan for $81 million.[12]

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 "" and the Infoseek brand name is no longer used in North America.[1] However, the Australian domain and the Japanese domain still operate with the Infoseek name.[1] The Japanese domain name now operates as a web portal known as "Rakuten Infoseek".

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Short History of Early Search Engines – The History of SEO". Archived from the original on 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  2. ^ "Kirsch Foundation About the Founders". Archived from the original on 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  3. ^ "Contacting Infoseek." Infoseek. July 2, 1997. Retrieved on January 20, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Disney absorbs Infoseek - Jul. 12, 1999". Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  5. ^ "Mike Slade on 80s Microsoft, NeXT, Starwave and Steve Jobs' Return to Apple". Internet History Podcast. Archived from the original on 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  6. ^ "Infoseek hits Wall Street". CNET. Archived from the original on 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  7. ^ "Infoseek - a history (from WebSerch)". 2009-05-01. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  8. ^ "Infographic: Top 20 Most Popular Websites (1996-2013)". 26 December 2014. Archived from the original on 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  9. ^ "Infoseek to Buy WebChat Broadcasting". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. 1998-04-15. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  10. ^ "CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: BEHIND THE HYPE/PROCTER & GAMBLE - P&G looks beyond banner ads to boost its web presence. The company is emerging as something of a leader as advertising on the net matures. By Alasdair Reid". Retrieved 2022-01-28.
  11. ^ "Short History of Early Search Engines – The History of SEO". Archived from the original on 2018-03-23. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  12. ^ Interactive, Nikkei Net (December 2000). "Rakuten Agrees to Acquire Infoseek Japan for $81 Million". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-01-09.