Blucora is a provider of financial services. InfoSpace changed its name to Blucora and NASDAQ symbol from INSP to BCOR on June 7, 2012. This event reflected the company's change as the owner of two online businesses, after its acquisition of TaxACT in January 2012, and distinguishes the parent company from its search business operating unit, which was called InfoSpace.
Blucora's TaxACT subsidiary offers online tax preparation services. Founded in 1998 and made by 2nd Story Software, in the 2005 tax season, TaxACT became the first to offer free federal tax software and free e-file to all U.S. taxpayers.
The company was founded as Infospace in March 1996 by Naveen Jain after he left Microsoft. The company started with six employees, and Jain served as CEO until 2000. InfoSpace provided content and services, such as phone directories, maps, games and information on the stock market, to websites and mobile device manufacturers. The company grew at low cost without funding using co-branding strategies. Rather than try to get traffic to an InfoSpace website, sites like Lycos, Excite and Playboy embedded Infospace's features and content into their site and added an InfoSpace icon to it. InfoSpace then earned money by taking a small percentage of licensing, subscription or advertising fees. On December 15, 1998, InfoSpace went public, raising $75 million in the offering.
By April 2000, InfoSpace was working with 1,500 websites, 60 content providers and 20 telecommunications companies. InfoSpace was praised by Wall Street analysts and at its peak its market cap was $31 billion. It became the largest internet business in the American Northwest. InfoSpace may have contributed to the inflated expectations in internet companies during the height of the dot-com bubble. In July 2000, InfoSpace acquired Go2Net. After the merger, Go2Net CEO Russell Horowitz became president of Infospace. The same year, InfoSpace used a controversial accounting method to report $46 million in profits when in fact it had lost $282 million. Company executives skirted SEC trading restrictions to sell large blocks of their personal stock.
Jain resumed the role of CEO in 2001, but was forced out by InfoSpace's board as chairman and CEO in December 2002. By June 2002, the company's stock price, which reached $1,305 in March 2000, had dropped to $2.67.
In December 2002, Jim Voelker took over Naveen Jain's role as Chairman, CEO and President of InfoSpace. Voelker quickly shut down or sold many of InfoSpace's 12 businesses, and focused on five core segments. In 2003, InfoSpace acquired Moviso from Vivendi Universal Net USA. In early March 2003, InfoSpace sued Jain for allegedly violating non-compete agreements in his role at newly founded Intelius. In April 2003, Jain resigned from the InfoSpace board.
In 2004, InfoSpace acquired online yellow pages service Switchboard. It also moved into the mobile games space, acquiring Atlas Mobile, IOMO and Elkware. InfoSpace reported $249 million in revenue that year, up 89 percent from the previous year and more than Jain ever achieved in the company's dot-com heyday.
In 2007, InfoSpace sold Atlas Mobile studio to Twistbox, Moviso to mobile content tech firm FunMobility, and IOMO re-emerged as FinBlade. InfoSpace's directory services were acquired by Idearc for $225 million in September 2007, while the remaining portions of InfoSpace Mobile were acquired by Motricity for $135 million in October 2007.
In February 2009, Jim Voelker retired as CEO and president but remained on the company's board as chairman. From February 2009 to November 2010, Will Lansing served as president and CEO of InfoSpace. Under Lansing's leadership, InfoSpace started an online auction website called haggle.com. A year later, it shut down the website and sold its assets to BigDeal.com. William J. Ruckelshaus was appointed CEO in November 2010 after serving as a board member since May 2007.
In January 2012, the company acquired TaxAct, and to help differentiate its name from its new purchase, and that of its InfoSpace search unit, it rebranded its name to Blucora, and its NASDAQ ticker symbol changed to BCOR on June 7, 2012.
On August 1, 2013, Blucora bought Monoprice for $180 million, in an all-cash transaction. On April 21, 2014, Discovery Communications announced that they had sold HowStuffWorks to Blucora for $45 million.
On April 4, 2016, John S. Clendening was appointed CEO of Blucora.
In July 2016, Blucora announced the sale of its Infospace business, including HowStuffWorks, to OpenMail for $45 million in cash. As part of the deal, CEO Bill Ruckelshaus was replaced by John Clendening. On November 15, 2016, Blucora said it would move its headquarters from Bellevue, Washington, to Irving, Texas. At the same time, the company announced the sale of Monoprice, its online electronics retail business, to Taiwan-based electronics company YFC-BonEagle for $40 million.
In January 2020, Blucora announced Chris Walters would replace John Clendening as President and CEO.
In a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2003, a lower court federal judge ruled that former InfoSpace CEO, Naveen Jain, had purchased shares of Infospace in violation of six month short swing insider trading rules, and issued a $247 million judgment against him, the largest award of its kind at that time. Jain appealed the ruling in 2005, and settled the case for $105 million, while denying liability. Jain's attempt to further litigate against his former lawyers for the loss was dismissed.