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Reference-com logo.svg
Type of site
Encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus
Available inEnglish, Spanish
LaunchedFebruary 1997; 23 years ago (1997-02) is an online encyclopedia that organizes content that uses a question-and-answer format. Articles are organized into hierarchical categories.

Before IAC restructured the site following an acquisition in 2008, comprised multiple reference works, and disclosed its sources.


The old version of the logo was launched by InReference, Inc in February 1997.[1] The site was later acquired by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. In 2005, Lexico announced that would begin offering searches of Wikipedia content.[2]

The popularity of had been greatly boosted by Google's practice of offering a link at the top of their search results that goes to the definition.[] This exclusive relationship was terminated without explanation to the public when the Google links were redirected to definitions at (In December 2009, the links were replaced with Google's own dictionary.) Google added a definition link for certain search words in a non-exclusive relationship (along with links to definitions from a few other commercial reference websites). On 3 July 2008, IAC acquired Lexico Publishing Group, LLC and its three properties:,, and[3][4]

Sources reproduces content from external sources.[5] The site's sources include other online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a search of terms found on other websites such as resource and the CIA World Factbook. The site can also search Usenet groups and other mailing lists.[6][7]

The encyclopedia had articles from such sources as the 2004 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, the Crystal Reference Encyclopedia, and (later) the English Wikipedia. Its online dictionary indexed the American Heritage Dictionary, Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary, the Jargon File, the Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary, Acronym Finder, Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, the On-line Medical Dictionary, and WordNet. Its thesaurus was based on multiple versions of Roget's Thesaurus. The site's web directory was an interface to the Open Directory Project, and its web search feature used Google Search. An interface to Google Translate was added in 2008.[8]

User tracking in 2010 topped the list compiled by The Wall Street Journal ranking websites by how many third-party tracking cookies were added to the user's computer. added 234 tracking cookies when encountering a first-time user.[9]


  1. ^ " Goes Live as the Most Comprehensive Internet Forums Service". Business Wire. 10 July 2019.[dead link]
  2. ^ " Expands Content by Adding resource Encyclopedia to Search Capabilities". Lexico Publishing Group. 15 September 2005. Archived from the original on 10 July 2019. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ Auchard, Eric (3 July 2008). " closes acquisition of". Reuters.
  4. ^ " closes deal". CNet. 4 July 2008.
  5. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Tracy Swedlow (12 February 1997). "New Web Service Provides Search Tool for Usenet and More". PC World. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
  7. ^ Anthony Ramirez (4 January 1998). "Neighborhood Report: New York Online". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Translator - An Service". Retrieved 2009.
  9. ^ "Tracking The Companies That Track You Online". Fresh Air. August 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010. The one site that installed the most was A visit to resulted in 234 trackers being installed on our test computer, and only 11 of those were installed by ... So on, the vast majority of the trackers (200 out of 234) were installed by companies that the person visiting the site probably had never heard of."

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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