Go.Com

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Overview


Previously named the Go Network, Go.com is a web portal that first launched by Jeff Gold, and is currently operated by the Walt Disney Internet Group, which is a part of The Walt Disney Company. The web site includes content from and access to ABC News, ESPN, and FamilyFun.com, all of which are associated with and are hosted under a .go.com name.
Go.Com provides many of the same services as other Internet portals but in a way that delivers better search results making it easier for users to surf the web (Orr 1998). To keep from falling into the norm, Go.com set out to do a redesign by the Walt Diseny Internet Group to enhance their image as a hybrid of a broad based portal (Raven 2000). To achieve this goal they narrowed down their content focus and chose to have the results based around four main topics of entertainment, recreation, leisure, and lifestyle (Raven 2000). Go.Com acts as a navigation tool to get viewers from point A to point B without the hassle of dealing with result overkill. When designing the homepage the creators split up the information into neighborhoods with access links and recent news links for easy browsing. These neighborhoods include: Kids and Family, Entertainment, Sports, Games and Activities, Travel and Shopping. Also, Go.com is equipped with a weather box provided by AccuWeather, maps and directions from Map Quest, Recipe finder powered by Disney Family and various other games and video hot spots. The Disney Internet Group did not stop there, the site runs targeted ads on the homepage for their targeted audience that revolve around the sites they are associated with. For example, displaying advertisements for top party appetizers and interactive advertisements that display how to turn ordinary household items into treasures. There is a vast amount of things that set this web portal apart from the others and Disney knew they had to stand out to become on top for their users



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To break free from the majority of other web sites and search engines, Go.com wanted to be even more unique than they already are. Go.com offers companies that want to advertise on their site “Big Impression Advertising,”(Friedman, 2000). What they plan on doing with this new form of advertising is changing the style of the advertisements. “Big Impression Advertising,” is where a home page ad is 30% larger than most banner ads, and is more "print like,"(Friedman 2000). Go.com is not stopping with just this one different ad to attract new business. Going even farther outside of the common ad mold this new type of ad is an interactive advertisement that offers drop down menus and other new features (Friedman 2000). Surfers do not even realize they are picking and choosing their ads on Go.Com because these certain ActivAds are accessed by the search terms that each individual uses .The entire concept that is being presented is functionality of the advertisement with ActivAd (Heim 2000). When users click on this style of advertisement, that only Disney corporations use, it leads the person behind the mouse directly to the site (Heim 2000). ActivAd made such an impact in the advertising world that major corporations such as, America Honda Motor Co., Procter & Gamble Co., testing company the Princeton Review, Lego Group and Dealtime decided to sponsor and have their advertisements put into ActivAd form (Friedman 2000).



Audience Qualities

Defining an audience is determined by demographics and psychographics. Demographics used for Go.Com would include gender, age, income, marital status, employment, and the number of children in the home. Psychographics are different from demographics because they focus more on beliefs and attitudes, personality traits, and personal interests. Once these are all combined it makes a clearer image of whom each company should be focusing on. After researching only the demographics of age, gender, marital status, and number of children in the home the general audience was identified. Go.com has an audience generally ranging in age of 18-35, male, educated with some college or graduate college degrees, without children. A mix of both men and women use this site and more family oriented visitors began frequenting Go.Com when they decided to pull through and become a different form of search engine. Go.com made it easy for mothers and women to find recipes, kids to access games at the click of a button and sports fan to find an online score. With its filtered results and easy accessing it is easy enough for kids to use while being fast and simple enough to use in a hurry. Everyday GO.com comes with something different to help with fast and efficient web browsing for everyone.

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Cost Of Advertising


Pixel size, frequency, placement, and the type of ad are only a few factors that affect the price of an advertisement on Go.Com. As of 2000, the main type of ad being used is the “Big Impression Ad.” The large, uniquely sized 260-by-180 pixel ad units appear in the upper-right-hand corner of the site's homepages. They are sold on a day-by-day basis and have a $35 CPM (Heim 2000). They figure these rates by looking at the CPM, which stands for the cost per thousand impressions (Li para. 4.3). In this case, they charge $35 for every 1000 people in their target audience who get exposed to their ad. Corporations are not buying just a banner ad though. They are buying an interactive advertisement capable of streaming and drop down menus providing a dominating brand experience (Heim 2000). ActivAd’s are a form of pay per click advertising that became tweaked and altered to fit Disney standards. Pay per Click advertising is a form of advertising that when the viewer clicks the advertisement they are redirected to the businesses home page.


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Scheduling of Advertisements


Having decided how to advertise and where to advertise, the next step is the crucial question of when to advertise. Out of the three different methods of scheduling, continuous, flighting, and pulsing, Go.Com uses the pulse method to display their advertisements. Pulse scheduling is a combination of flighting and continuous. Displaying the advertisements that are extremely relevant to that season or holiday is a form of flighting. When it is off-season or when flighting is unnecessary, Go.Com still has continuous advertisements pertaining to the features of their site. Another reason advertisers choose the pulsing method over the others is because of the multiple topics placed on their homepage year round. The web guide on the homepage is sought to draw on the strengths of the other properties belonging to the California based Walt Disney Internet Group (Raven 2000). This way, the family site Disney.Com, the sports destination ESPN.com, and the broadcasting network site ABC.com all see Ad recognition on Go.Com (Raven 2000).


General Impact of Advertisements


The general audience sees banner ads placed all throughout the World Wide Web causing them to play out and loose their appeal.
With the use of the new advertising techniques, Go.com creates a higher impact to its audience. Because the "Big Impression" ads will only be seen on Disney Internet Group sites, it’s hopeful that they will be more enticing (Heim 2000). With this approach alone web surfers won’t be bombarded with the traditional media presented on every other search engine, it will force them out of curiosity to play around with the advertisements. The fact that this is a unique feature of Disney Internet Group and combining the new advertisement methods with page-dominating branding, and enhanced applications, will cause an impact to the audience that no web site has ever seen before (Heim 2000). The audience wants to be pleased with all aspects of the site, and this is a way to make sure that they are. JUGGLE informs us that presently, 3,953 outside websites point toward go.com and it is ranked number 14 by popularity in the United States. Having a narrowed target market and introducing a new form of online advertisements only makes Go.Com more desirable to co
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mpanies that fit the advertising criteria.

Reach And Frequency of Advertisements


One of the most important parts of advertising is establishing the reach of an ad. Once advertisers have figured out their reach, they are able to establish their target market and regulate the flow of appropriate advertisements for each market (Li Para. 2.1). By effectively figuring out the reach of certain advertisements, companies can manage and utilize the budget money in a more productive manor. Ways to go about this are monitoring the search engines as people type in phrases, watching the hits each hyperlink receives throughout a given time period, and looking at the voluntary clicking and visitation to each advertisement. Go.Com has a search function that will provide results on any topic but in the areas of entertainment and leisure, which will provide richer results with much greater depth. This will maintain accuracy on their selected audience insuring the correct, relevant ads are placed with each search term (Orwall 2000). Once reach is established, they can then go onto frequency. Frequency differs from reach because frequency is the number of times consumers see an advertisement, not the total number of people exposed to the advertisement. Go.Com advertisements will target the general and lifestyle media vehicles (Friedman 2000). To execute this, they plan on using TV ads on NBC and print ads in places such as People, Entertainment Weekly, and Time (Friedman 2000). Having selected topics of interest for the viewers and such a distinct image works to the advantage of GO.Com when deciding on their reach and frequency methods.

Limitations on Advertising


Go.Com is a search engine based for the use of a specific audience. While it addresses the main topics of interest for its frequent, research based users, it does not satisfy everyone’s needs. Instead of trying to appeal to every audience accessing the web, the revised search engine will focus highly on areas like entertainment, recreation, leisure and lifestyles that Disney believes play off its strengths (Orwall 2000). If someone is looking for the hottest trends on the newest fashion, or if the brand new celebrity couple was just a big publicity stunt, Go.com is not the right choice. Things Go.com will make an effort to address are things that are happening an addressing their own corporations such as ABC.com, Disney.com, Family.com, and ESPN.com. Even with all of their affiliates, GO.com makes sure that the headlines are user friendly to their targeted audience. With this tactic they maintain their image and set themselves apart from the other search engines.

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Responsiveness to the Audience


After establishing the target market, Walt Disney Internet Group knew they had to keep the viewers happy to ensure their return to the site. The only efficient way to do this was to get feedback from the viewers. Steve Bornstein is the leader of the go.com and believes it is necessary to narrow down the portals focus to areas in which Disney already strong (Orwall 2000). According to K. Goldstein (Handelman interview, Jan 8, 2001), the team had to ask themselves, what are our audiences needs, wants, and desires, and are we fulfilling them? After sorting out all of the responses, K. Goldstein (Handleman interview, Jan 8, 2001), and his team found that the users of Go.Com wanted variety. Some wanted things only for the adult audience such as, “Shopping,” and, “Vacations,” while others wanted links that would direct them to sites designed just for the kids, which is how “Playhouse,” and “Zeether” came about as links on Go.Com. Since the site if also an interactive family site, K. Goldstein (Handleman interview, Jan 8, 2010), the team combined links in the “Entertainment,” and “Fun for Families,” section so that parents and their kids could use the site together as either a learning experience or bonding time. After sectioning off the sites neighborhoods into designated audience groups, Walt Disney Internet Group decided to give “Tweens” their own interactive experience by putting a game into an experience about Internet safety and learning. Responding to the wants and needs of their audience, the Walt Disney Internet Group became the web portal they set out to be.



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Current Advertisers


The New York-based Cliff Freeman & Partners advertising agency is named the head agency for the GO Network portal business. Cliff Freeman & Partners will spearhead advertising efforts over the coming months as GO.com focuses its portal business on the broad categories of recreation, entertainment and leisure (2000 March 20). Current advertisements come from major corporations. Each advertisement is unique in hitting all of the requirements of Go.Com. Crayola supplies a banner ad for discounts on school supplies while Family Fun magazine gives a discounted rate on subscriptions. T-Mobile also has a banner ad at the top of the screen that promotes their low rate mobile plans and new phones. Just as Disney planned, the T-Mobile site is an ActivAd. When waving the mouse over the advertisement a drop down menu pops up displaying information that is not shown on the initial advertisement. Common household products are also advertised on Go.Com such as Clorox. Family.com provides a Clorox advertisement that talks about keeping cooking areas clean while cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Also, Family.Com on their ad has The Possibility Shop. This is an interactive advertisement that shows families how to turn festive things such as pine-cones into holiday table settings. The possibilities are endless when it comes to advertising on a site such as Go.Com. By keeping the advertisements interactive, Go.Com keeps the audience interested and the companies satisfied and happy with their place purchase on the web site.

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Interesting Facts

Recently, Disney.Com partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to create a game for teens titled Hot Shot Business. This game shows the players what it is like to be a business entrepreneur. Tasks such as regulating revenue, keeping customers happy, and making sure the costs and profits are in the right order. Introducing the business world at an early age in such an exciting and interactive way gives the users a feel for what it is like to own their own business. They are put in the position to choose which type of advertising is right for each obstacle they are presented with and how to tackle quick business decisions. Once the gamer gets to a certain level he or she can actually start creating unique products to sell to attract more customers and get higher rankings in the virtual business world. The possibilities are endless in this education and virtually interactive world. With the help of the games hosts, the gamers can have the number one store in Hot Shot Business by making thought out decisions.

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Refrences


Friedman, W. (2000, October). Go.com Ad Campaign Hypes Revised Site. Advertising Age, 71(43), 64,68. Retrieved November16, 2010, from
ABI/INFORM Global.
Handleman, D. (2001). Interview with Ken Goldstein. Adweek. Retrieved November 15, 2010, from http://www.adweek.com
Heim, S. (2000). IQ News: Disney Net Group Livin’ Large With New Ads. Adweek. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from Lexis-Nexis database.
Li, H. (n.d.). Advertising Media Planner. In Admedia. Retrieved November 15, 2010, from http://admedia.org/.
Orr, A. (1998). Disney Will Use its Marketing Magic to Bring New Go Network to Life: Bigger Online Presence: It'll be 'Go, Go, Go' in Venture with Infoseek. National Post (Canada). Retrieved November 16, 2010, from Lexis-Nexis database.
Orwall, B. (2000, January 28). Disney Plans To Narrow Portal's Focus. Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), p. A3. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global.
Raven, Darren. ( 2000, October 23). Holday Cheer? Consumers have Already Bought the Idea of Shopping Online. So why do E-Tailors Have So Much to Prove This Holiday Season? Illustrations. Ad Week. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from http://www.adweek.com.
Schumann, D., & Thorson, E. (2007). Internet Advertising: Theory and Practice. (2nded.). Chicago: Routledge.
Schmucker, Eric. (1999, December 13). IQ Analysis: Making a Play. Ad Week. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from http://www.Adweek.com .
(2000, March 20). GO.com Names Cliff Freeman The Free Library. (2000). Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/GO.com Names Cliff Freeman & Partners Advertising Agency of Record...-a060264204

Lauren Coxen
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