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Infoseek, Netscape rearrange relationship

Portal reduces dependency on Netcenter for visitors

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Netscape and Infoseek have renegotiated their agreement over the extent to which the portal's search engine is promoted in Netscape's own Internet access point, Netcenter. Netcenter allows users to search the Web using a variety of the leading search engines and Net directories, including Infoseek, Lycos, Excite and Alta Vista. If users don't specify a particular engine, Netcenter selects one at random. Netscape informed Infoseek earlier this month that it wished to renegotiate that arrangement. The new deal will see Infoseek's chance of being selected drop from 15 per cent to just five. It will also pay around 20 per cent more for each vistor who comes to its site from Netscape's. Infoseek reckons the random-selection reduction will see the Netsape-sourced share of its vistors fall from the 44 per cent it achieved in Q1 1997 to just four per cent in January 1999. That sounds a poor deal for Infoseek, but the portal has been trying to reduce its reliance on other sites for traffic. If you're building a business as a portal rather than a search engine, you want people to come to you first, not via a rival's portal. Infoseek is betting on its recently signed ties with Disney to bring in the punters. In any case, Infoseek -- and probably other portals as well -- will want to distance themselves from Netscape further once the deal with AOL goes ahead. ®

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