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Asia and Pacific Region Forum

Alta Vista Australia/NZ, and other Country AVs
Database, Indexing, Content, Popularity, Pay for Play, Longevity,

 1:32 am on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

following Cherryl's question here [webmasterworld.com], I had a long chat with the people at Alta Vista Australia/NZ and I may have a few answers which will relate not only to Alta Vista Australia/NZ but also to the other Country Specific AVs.

**Database Amalgamation**

It seems that we have been correct in our summation that all the local databases are being amalgamated into the .com database. As it stands now all information and submissions end up in a central database. The central database and Country indexes are run out of California with the management and administration for all Country specific engines coming out of the UK. Each country generates their own index based on local domain and local content, with preference given to local domains in the SERPs.

So even though all submissions now go through the US, theoretically any local content will picked up in each re-index which is done every 28 days.

**Local Index**

Preference is given towards local domains at the country level whilst sites and pages containing country specific information from other domains are also picked up in the index. However, pages from non-country domains will appear lower in the SERPs due to the bias towards local domains.

As to what non-local domain pages/sites are included, that depends on the amount of local content. As an example, lets imagine you have a .com site about Widgets.

1. If the site as a whole is either totally or predominantly about Australian Widgets, then the whole site would be picked up.
2. If the site is about Widgets in general with a section on Australian Widgets, then that section would be picked up.
3. If you only have one page about Australian Widgets, then that page would be picked up.

I am using Australia as the example here but this would apply to all Country AV Engines. I am also assuming that the higher the proportion of content you have relating to that country, the more chance you have of getting picked up.

Of course, nothing is foolproof when it comes to computers, so if you find your site does not appear in the local country index, you can email them to check whether it is in the index or not. Contact should be made through the feedback form or email addresses found in the "Contact Us" section on the applicable Country AV. These emails are audited every day in the US and are either dealt with directly or forwarded to the applicable Country Engine for more detailed attention.


As to popularity, both AV Australia and New Zealand are doing very well at the moment in the local markets.

Australia AV was the #3 site in April 2001 as ranked by Hitwise, and now it can be anywhere in the top ten sites depending on current events in Australia. Media Metrix rated AV Australia the #1 SE in May 2001.

AV NZ is currently ranked #3 site overall in NZ and they were the #1 SE in July 2001 as ranked by Hitwise.

"The best indication of the top performance of AV Australia/NZ is 'happy consumers'" and advertisers achieving return on their investments. If AV was not performing well, people wouldn't be coming back."

**Paid Positions**

Featured sites are in the pipeline for Australia/New Zealand and should be visible within a couple of weeks. There will be two positions available per SERP and will be displayed above the search results. These will be on a "first come best dressed" basis, will be tightly linked to the search phrases, and must be approved through the AV Quality Assurance procedures to maintain quality of results. Rate Card costs will be around AUS$80CPM, NZ$120CPM!

Express inclusion (Pay for Play) is around the corner for Australia/New Zealand and will be based on the current American model. As yet there has been no decision as to the partner so we are waiting for an announcement.

**Long Term**

When the discussion ventured around to the recent demise of certain SEDs in the industry, there was a very adamant reply of "Alta Vista is here to stay!"

Hope this helps


(edited by: Woz at 8:41 am (gmt) on Aug. 23, 2001)



 1:55 am on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Great post Woz!

Next time you're chatting with them could you ask them what sort of plans they have for Asia? They've got a nice [url=kr.altavista.com/]Korean version[/url] of AV online, but I haven't seen a Japanese or Chinese version. I know that AV had some licensing deals in Japan in the past, but those seem to have fallen through. When will they have Japanese and Chinese sites up?

There are a couple of Japanese interfaces that use AV
and I know there are Japanese (and Chinese) results in their DB...there's just no native language AV interfaces yet.


 11:00 am on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Excellent stuff, Woz. Now we can stop scratching or heads --- almost:

>Each country generates their own index based on local domain and local content, with preference given to local domains in the SERPs.

Local domains or local language? Take a look at this search [se.altavista.com]in Altavista.se using an English word ("sweden"), but the preferences radio button being set to the default "in Sweden" and language choice to the default 'all languages'. Number 1 and 4 are dot-coms in English. How did AV know these were Swedish sites? IP-numbers?

Can't figure it out.


 11:33 am on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. I guess with Australia/New Zealand it is a little easier with only one main language to deal with. Searhes there certainly do favour local domains. Perhaps there is more to the story in other Countries.

I wonder if there is set criteria that is applied to each country index or whether they all have individual criteria? This is worth additional research.



 3:04 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hey Rencke,

try this one [se.altavista.com]. Predominantly .se's. I guess it has a lot to do with language.



 9:35 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

God, you're good.

BUT: #2 is a dot-com, #9 is a dot-net and #10 is a dot-nu. Plus you used a Swedish word to search AV.se - which is making things simple. 40% of all Swedish sites are outside of .se, so this is close to the average. OTOH all titles and descriptions are in Swedish, so yes, language may be a part of this, but we still have to account for the Swedish pages in English in dot-coms from my example. Can't think of any other answer but IP-numbers right now, but that seems so far fetched somehow.

Btw: In case you wonder about the relevancy of any of these two searches: As close to 0% as you can come. People will turn away in disgust. A few more months of this and all AV users will have migrated to Google, where relevancy for the same two searches is 90%+.


 11:50 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Woz for that useful insight into AV Australia.

"Australia AV was the #3 site in April 2001 as ranked by Hitwise, and now it can be anywhere in the top ten sites depending on current events in Australia. Media Metrix rated AV Australia the #1 SE in May 2001."

Although Hitwise and Media Metrix may rank AV Australia as in the top sites....do you find that your own sites referrals from AV reflect this?

Personally I currently find that AV Australia rank second in referrals from Australian/NZ search engines (Anzwers is the highest).

Have you ever found that the US site has actually ranked your site higher for your most popular keywords than AV Australia (even though the site is Australian based). I'm still trying to work out how they managed to do that with my site.

Anyway if you have any suggestions on why the above may have occurred please let me know.

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