Infoseek hopes to use M'sia as gateway to Asia

Summary:One of the earliest search engines around, Infoseek, which is trying to reinvent itself, sees Malaysia as a potential gateway for the Web player to use to penetrate other Asian markets.

KUALA LUMPUR--One of the earliest search engines around, Infoseek, which is trying to reinvent itself, sees Malaysia as a potential gateway for the Web player to use to penetrate other Asian markets.

This was conveyed by the chief executive officer of Datahunt Bernt Wahl during a meeting with local venture capitalists and members of the press. Datahunt is the new proprietor of Infoseek.

Wahl was invited by the Malaysian Venture Capital Association (MVCA) and EC Commerce Sdn Bhd.

In Malaysia, Infoseek is seeking to license its search technology and other applications for the domestic market and possibly set up a local presence or co-brand with a partner with a global reach.

Wahl is now trying to raise RM19 million to re-launch Infoseek and also to buy back some of its assets from Disney. Disney incidentally, owned Infoseek, which was then renamed Go.com before the entertainment giant relinquished control to current owner Datahunt.

Wahl also reasserted that Infoseek is a technology company and that its new management would concentrate on providing better search capabilities, with more expansive community directories and user guides.

Revenue-wise, Wahl said Infoseek would continue to bank on banner ads despite the prevailing notion that "banners are dead".

He argued that companies like Yahoo which is also heavily dependent on banner ad revenue, were hampered by high overheads and an inability to give both users and advertisers genuinely effective searches.

"Infoseek's search engine will take the user to the specific time he or she is searching for...it's a win-win situation for both the user and the advertiser."

Wahl pointed to the fact that Infoseek, under Disney management, raked in revenues of over RM760 million from banner ads, with a 7 percent click-through rate at times, whereas the market average hovers around 0.5 percent.

Topics: Malaysia

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