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Infoseek buys Net directory firm

Looking to boost its e-commerce offerings down the road, Infoseek acquires directory service Quando for $17 million in stock.

Looking to boost its e-commerce offerings down the road, Infoseek today acquired Internet directory service Quando for $17 million in common stock.

With the acquisition, Infoseek gains a backbone from which to develop retail resources and localized content. Infoseek is expected to use Quando technology to develop a comparative shopping guide and detailed local event listings.

"The strategic move [of the acquisition] is to really have more emphasis on e-commerce," said Infoseek president and chief executive Harry Motro. "We think that with Quando, in the way it organizes information to present to users in the most meaningful way, we can really define how consumers on the Internet can buy products."

The Portland, Oregon-based Quando produces Internet crawling technology, where a software robot or "bot" scans the Web to build customized directories. Quando then processes the data into a more organized listing of the bot's programmed search.

One of Quando's bots, called EventBot, is incorporated into America Online's Digital City local event guide to provide listings of events and venues.

Infoseek will maintain Quando's relationship as a technology outsourcer to Digital City, Motro said.

Motro further hinted that Quando technology will become a "component" in Infoseek's efforts to build its own collection of localized guides, which other portals, such as AOL and Yahoo, have already begun to build.

"We're very focused on local," added Motro. "We'll be more active in that in the near future."

In addition, Infoseek plans to spin off other content services using Quando's database technology, and may further incorporate it throughout Disney's roster of sites, including those under Starwave, such as ESPN SportsZone and ABC News.

The deal, which involves about 525,000 shares of Infoseek stock, is expected to be finalized by the end of the fourth quarter.