Go.com is Founded

Go.com (also known as The Go Network) is a web portal first launched by Jeff Gold, and now operated by the Walt Disney Internet Group, which is a part of The Walt Disney Company.

The portal includes content from ABC News, ESPN, and FamilyFun.com, all of which are associated with Disney and are hosted under a .go.com name. Along with TimeWarner's Pathfinder.com, Go.com proved to be an expensive failure for its parent company, as web users preferred to use search engines to access content directly, rather than start at a top-level corporate portal.

Go.com was launched in 1995 by entrepreneur Jeff Gold (now president and chairman of the nonprofit World Environmental Organization), as an entertainment portal featuring one of the Internet's first web-based chat room networks. The site was affiliated with nearly 3,000 radio stations worldwide, and nearly 1 million people became members of the network, making it the second largest web-based chat network at the time. Go.com was acquired from Gold by the Walt Disney Company and redeveloped after Infoseek, created by Steve Kirsch, was merged into the Go.com network in 1998. The site originally started off as a search engine, using a distinctive green stoplight logo. However, in early 2000 Go.com was forced to abandon its logo because of a complaint of similar-looking logos filed by Goto.com (A court later ruled that Go.com had to pay $21.5 million in damages to Goto.com).

In 1998, Disney expanded Go.com beyond the entertainment portal concept launched by Gold. In addition to its own content, the company used the site as a hub for other Disney-related sites, including ABC.com and Disney.com. Go.com also hosted personal web pages. In early 2000, with visits to the site dropping, Disney announced that the general portal would now focus more on entertainment.

Almost all Disney/ABC sites migrated to the Go.com domain, and the site was mentioned at the end of programs on ABC/Disney networks often (for example at the end of a program on ESPN, the end line was "For more visit ESPN.com, part of the Go Network", while the logo was displayed on-screen, or at the end of an ABC News program, the bumper would freeze frame at the end while the logo animates, accompanied by "ABCNews.com is now a part of the Go Network.").

However, in January 2001, Disney announced that it would be closing Go.com and its search engine, laying off approximately 400 employees and retiring the go.com tracking stock.

The Walt Disney Company felt the sting of the dot-com bust with its portal Go.com. Started in 1998, Go.com was a combination of Disney's online properties and Infoseek, in which the Mouse had previously acquired a controlling interest. Though it was meant to be a "destination site" much like Yahoo, Go.com had its own little quirks, such as content restrictions against adult material. Disney was never able to make Go.com popular enough to validate the millions spent on promotion. In January 2001, Go.com was shut down, and Disney took a write-off of $790 million. Go.com still exists, but it carries only feeds from other Disney Web properties.