GoTo to Change Name, Rebrand

GoTo, which began life as a pay-for-placement portal, said Friday that a name change will be the final step in transforming and rebranding itself as an e-business services company.

The Pasadena, Calif.-based company is premising its new identity on its pay-for-performance search, comparison shopping and auction engines, which it licenses to Web sites, and said a new corporate name will better communicate GoTo’s “leadership position in providing pay-for-performance search services to its affiliates and advertisers,” according to a statement Friday.

GoTo provides Web site search, comparison shopping and auction search services through a network of affiliate partners, which include America Online, CompuServe and Netscape.

Given that less than 10 percent of GoTo’s traffic comes directly to its Web site — the bulk of its 28 million visitors come comes from its affiliates — a formal move away from the portal business might be wise.

“We plan to choose a more distinctive corporate name, one which re-enforces our mission to be the premier provider of pay-for-performance search services,” said Stephanie Sarka, senior vice president, product lines and corporate marketing for GoTo. “A great new name will solidify our leadership in this space, and we are very excited to start the project.”

In addition, the company said a new name will differentiate it from other Internet companies with “go” in their names, like Go2Net, Go.com, and Go2 Systems, which recently threatened a trademark infringement suit.

“The GoTo name has always existed in a crowded space, and it has gotten somewhat burdensome to clearly differentiate ourselves,” said Ted Meisel, president and chief executive officer, GoTo. “We feel that now is the ideal time to create a new name for the company, one that better reflects and describes the value we provide to our customers.”

GoTo retained branding consultancy NameLab to help it develop its new corporate moniker. NameLab created such brand names as Acura, Acuvue, Compaq, CompUSA and Webvan.

The company said the renaming process likely will be completed by the middle of next year, pending shareholder approval.

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