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Infoseek inks e-commerce deals

The search company, late to enter the e-commerce space, will announce deals with heavy-hitters Realtor.com and Microsoft's Expedia.

Infoseek (SEEK) today announced two e-commerce deals, one with Realtor.com and the other with Microsoft's Expedia travel site.

The search site says the moves signal a more aggressive Internet commerce strategy. The company has been viewed as an e-commerce laggard behind rivals Yahoo and Excite.

Infoseek's stock price was up 13/32 to 16-5/8 on heavy volume, near its highest closing price for the last year.

"Commerce has become a critical part of what people expect" from the "portal" mega-sites where many Internet users first log on to the Net, said Forrester Research analyst Kate Delhagen. "Infoseek has definitely been late to the party."

The deal with heavy-hitter Realtor.com is a straight advertising deal and does not involve revenue sharing, according to Infoseek chief executive Harry Motro.

The contract with Expedia, another Web powerhouse, does include revenue sharing, however.

Motro declined to say how much revenue the two deals generate, except to call them "seven-figure deals." The Expedia partnership is slated for one year, while the Realtor.com deal is set for two years.

Realtor.com offers information about more than 1 million new and resale homes as well as various consumer-oriented tools for making decisions about buying a home. It is a service of NetSelect, which calls its site the busiest real estate site on the Internet. Realtor.com's "Find a Home," "Find a Realtor," and "Mover's Toolkit" will be available directly on Infoseek's real estate channel.

Infoseek has largely shunned deals for longer than 12 months, but Motro said the two-year term for Realtor.com was designed to snare a premium partner.

The Expedia deal is one of several between Infoseek and Microsoft, joining Microsoft Investor, Money Insider, CarPoint, and MSNBC among the ad and revenue-sharing contracts between the two companies.

Online travel is a booming area in e-commerce, with Jupiter Communications estimating that it makes up half of the spending now on the Internet.

Infoseek has what Motro calls "adver-commerce" or major sponsorship deals with Auto-By-Tel, Borders Online for books, CMP Media for its computer channel, and UPS.

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