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Disney quietly shutters family Net guide

The directory was touted as the first Web search engine safe for kids and families and was Disney's first attempt to step into the popular world of Web search engines.

Disney Internet Guide, or "Dig," the family-friendly Web search directory created by Disney Online, has quietly shut its doors.

Unveiled last June, the directory was touted as the first Web search engine safe for kids and families. See news analysis: Will Disney's Go Network pay off? Dig was also Disney's first attempt to step into the popular world of Web search engines, which at the time were beginning to be called "portals," sites that aggregate much of what the Web can offer.

But Dig was launched a week after Disney acquired a 43 percent stake in Web portal Infoseek. Subsequently, the entertainment giant jointly developed another Web portal, the Go Network, as a way to drive traffic to its Disney-owned Web content, search engine, and free email.

Accordingly, Dig was scrapped this past June because Disney management wanted to maintain Infoseek as its primary search brand, according to a Disney spokeswoman.

The move seems to close another frustrating chapter for Disney, which has yet to really hit its stride online. To many observers, the flagship Go Network, which includes high-profile properties such as ABCNews.com and ESPN.com, remains a big gamble that could either mark the success of media-Internet partnerships or go down as another expensive rebranding attempt from a traditional media company still trying to figure out the Web.

Either way, Disney's efforts to maintain its family image won't falter. Infoseek search has Disney's dilemma: Family values online a filtering feature called "Go Guardian" that blocks potentially adult-oriented search results. Because of this, Disney said there is no more need for Dig.

"We're relying entirely on Infoseek's search capabilities at this point," the spokeswoman said. "Combined with Go Guardian, it's a very good solution for family-friendly search."

In July this year, Disney said it will acquire the remaining 57 percent of Infoseek that it doesn't own for $1.62 billion. The acquisition will create a new Go.com company that potentially could be spun off for an initial public offering.