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It’s a Go for Mouse

Retooled Disney Web portal unveils today

After nearly nine months of revamping and retooling its flagship Internet portal, Disney is unveiling the latest incarnation of Go.com today.

New site, which stresses entertainment, recreation and leisure, will bow as a beta version to be tested by Web users at beta.go.com before its official launch later this month.

The site packages Infoseek’s search function with Disney-owned content, community and e-commerce efforts.

Biggest changes, besides the redesign of its pages and former lawsuit-inducing logo, are larger ads, additional news and info from content partners including CarsMart.com, Homestore, eBay and Travelocity, as well as a list of recommendations from its 35,000 Go Guides (Internet users who voluntarily submit their favorite Web sites revolving around a certain topic).

Streaming entertainment content is not part of the new plan, according to Walt Disney Internet Group prexy Steve Wadsworth, who said that would distract from the rest of the site’s content and not focus on Go’s plan of targeting everything that has to do with how people spend their free time.

The new Go — to be backed by a showy ad campaign in January — is the first site to come out of the gate since the Mouse House renamed its ‘Net division as the Walt Disney Internet Group in August.

Disney is planning to relaunch several sites, including those for ABC, ABCNews, ESPN and the Disney Store, beginning in October. New bows are also in store for Family.com and Disney Auctions, a co-venture with eBay.

A more animated Disney.com has already relaunched.

Regrouping of the Internet division now integrates not only the Go portal but ESPN.com, Disney.com, ABC, Mr. Showbiz and Wall of Sound under the same sales, marketing, technology and development teams.

Wadsworth said the new move will enable all of its Web properties to share and exploit the same content across all platforms and reflects the broader approach that the Mouse House is taking with new media, emphasizing initiatives in enhanced TV and e-commerce.

Execs hope the second try will become the hit it’s been trying to create among often fickle Netizens and advertisers. It worked with McKinsey & Co. and Web design firm Razorfish on the new designs.

Go (as Disney’s Internet division was formerly named) reported a net loss of $72.6 million in the most recent quarter. Revenues totaled $86.3 million, down from the previous quarter’s $97.6 million.

Go.com, alone, attracted nearly 22 million Netizens in July, according to Media Metrix. That positions Go as the sixth most popular site, without any advertising or marketing efforts.

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