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Overture buying Alta Vista
$140 million is the price

 9:41 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Read all about it [cbs.marketwatch.com]

Overture is to buy Alta Vista for $140 million.

Guess this is one of the "enhancements" we were told would happen as part of the sweetener for 10 cent minimum bids.



 11:45 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Alright! I love this game!

>Rather than optimizing for one search enging (!PageRank), is it going to be necessary to consider each search engine's characteristics?

Welcome to 1999.

>not very good

The search isn't all that bad, but they could sure use some help in the PR (press) department.


 11:49 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is getting fun! Its like all the current big boys are going to the SE junk yard to buy up all the scraps. I wonder who is next?

>>What are they going to do with all those patents, though?

Well all the inventors are all at Google, MS, and IBM. I think that leaves AV with squat but I'm not a patent lawyer.

>>I used it for bablefish

For the past few years me too. As long as Overture doesn't dump that, I don't see anything big coming out of this deal for the average user. ;)

On the other hand, if they cut a deal with someone like MSN, then I'm sure they'll be rolling in some nice cash.


 11:54 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

All downside -- and downhill -- for Overture from here on out. This pisses off MSN and Yahoo -- do they think they'll get that much traffic from AV that they can make up all that revenue? It's like trying to drain the ocean by opening the seacocks...

jeremy goodrich

 11:54 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


That's the best one yet. Hm, I keep wondering though -> how is it that people are going to be convinced to use AV or Over?...

Gee, what wonderful ads they have!

No thanks. I don't even think 'joe user' will go for that one...


 12:07 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

My humble two cents...

Overture is losing money in the PPC game ( hence the rise in minimum bid ) - figure they 'might' make some money in the search engine business - AltaVista just so happens to be the 'cheapest' available.

High-cash deals always make share holders happy... usually helps to expedite the sale and raises the stock price at the same time.

Sounds more like desperation on Overture's part more than anything else. Last time I looked at my logs, AltaVista accounted for less than 2% of my site(s) traffic - certainly not 'stellar' activity ( and from what I've read on this board - seems to be the consensus ).

[ ducking from the OVERture fans ] :)


 12:09 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I thought they changed their name from GoTo to Overture only a while back because they didn't want to be competing with their partners? And now they go and buy a whole very consumer-oriented engine?


 12:13 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Shouldn't it be 'OverLaVista.....Baby?'

From Overture to their subscribers:

Dear Overture Advertiser,





Your Partners at Overture

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 3:14 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2003]
[edit reason] TOS#9 please no email excerpts [/edit]


 12:18 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


Just reading some of the financial stuff on this makes you really wonder whether this is such a dumb move.

In 1999, CMGI paid Compaq Computer Corp. $2.3 billion for an 83 percent stake in Palo Alto, California-based AltaVista.

Now a 100% stake is worth $60 million in cash and a few shares.


 12:20 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

First full-text Internet search service in 1995

AltaVista is certainly the oldest operating web crawler out there, but both Infoseek and WebCrawler predate it in doing full-text indexing. They no longer exist as operating crawlers, but credit where it's due :)


 12:23 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, that makes me wonder who MSN is going to buy now. You just know there is no way they are going to continue using Ink. Until now, their best engine feed buyout options were Alta Vista, Teoma or Alltheweb.


MSN will be the next. My prediction.


 9:56 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


Haven't seen this mentioned yet?


 9:57 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

right over here


 10:13 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

without wishing to completely mess up the threads. (sorry in advance)

You know GoogleGuy is a true Webmasterworld fan when He posts stuff like this, instead of being in a board meeting with the finace team at Google



 12:50 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps they will fix the search algo. so that it is actually useful again?


 1:18 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Overture clearly have aspirations of being a portal. They are tired of being forced to take smaller cuts of the pie with their profit sharing with Yahoo, MSN, etc.

Luckily for them, I believe they have extended contracts with both Yahoo and MSN, so they can experiment and promote AV without risking their hide by pissing off Yahoo and MSN.

I see OVER going it alone with AV as it's portal, there will be television ads, billboards the whole 9-yards. OVER is rich, remember, they have a ton of cash and will promote this puppy well. :)


 1:28 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Overture said it plans to enhance AltaVista's paid inclusion products and offer its advertisers additional high-return marketing vehicles intended to drive targeted customer leads."

I wonder if Overture will now combine PPI and PPC? Imagine the possibilities.....

Kind of a SUPER paid inclusion....


 1:41 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, that makes me wonder who MSN is going to buy now.

Looksmart? Comes with the Zeal database.

Who else is there left to buy?


 1:57 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well ATW for starters....with that much money anybody could be in play for MS. Except Google of course but then that discussion has already been had.


 2:26 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

(MSN) Who else is there left to buy?

MSN buys FAST?


 2:59 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

FAST wouldn't at all surprise me either ;)


 3:01 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Neither would MSN purchasing Teoma. It'll be one of the two, IMO. I lean more toward them purchasing Teoma.


 3:12 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hope for the best with this acquisition. Perhaps Overture thinks that they can return Alta Vista to their former glory (and make a lot of additional money doing it), but I for one wouldn't bet on it.

The world of PPC and PFI expands and grows in strength.


 3:13 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think, MSN will buy Looksmart/Wisenut. It will take them awhile to get Wisenut in usable shape. So I would expect an interm contract with either AV or ATW to replace INK. But only until they can get Wisenut up and ready.


 3:30 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't like the feeling about this.

AV was still a free search engine. Overture relies on payment.

It removes another option for folks who aren't commerical.


 3:37 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

this probably says alot about what the financial world thinks:

CMGI, an Internet investment firm, bought AltaVista in a $2.3 billion stock swap in June, 1999. News of the deal, released after the closing bell, sent shares of Andover, Mass-based CMGI up 24 cents, or 29 percent , to $1.07. But Overture tumbled $1.87, to 8.7 percent, to $20.90 in late trading.
from CNN/Money: [money.cnn.com...]

I guess Overture doesn't balk at stories like this from late last year:

and remember that Yahoo is proposing to buy Inktomi for $235 million so the strange buyouts are far from over


 3:40 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Seems like a pretty high price - probably for the patents and the AV name (what little its still worth). Didn't Teoma and Wisenut go for less than 10% of what Overture just paid for AV?

I don't know much about their patents, but I sure hope the web search business doesn't become the LookSmart lawyers vs. the Overture lawyers vs. the Google lawyers vs. the YAHOO! lawyers, etc...

Learning Curve

 4:01 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Suggests Overture knows Yahoo is developing their own PPC engine.

What does MSN do? Buy Overture/Altavista. (Idea stolen from earlier in this thread.)


 5:14 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, what a thing to wake up to!

He-he-he! I love it. This year is turning out to be real fun!


 6:27 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

In response to DrCool

"$140 Million? Wow. That is suprisingly high. $80 mil in stock and $60 mil in cash."

Remember the Yahoo/Inktomi buyout was for over 200 million.

This is going to get interesting as there are still deals to be made, in looking at the stock chart for AskJeeves something is up if you ask me (no pun intended).

I have a history of TA analysis and there has to be something to this chart (ASKJEEVES), expect more mergers and aquisitions soon.

All best from Cali.


 7:00 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've lost interest in goto.com years ago, so I'm out of the loop, so if you take Yahoo away from overture, does overture have any decent traffic left?

If indeed yahoo develops their own PPC (which, let's face it, is pretty easy to do. Overture's "technology" is nothing that special, not even remotely as difficult to copy as, say G's search algos), then overture is totally screwed. So I agree with the desperation comment.

But given some originality, someone with brains could make AV better and bring back some limelight. But I doubt this will happen. I agree, overture is going downhill and this move confirms it, rather than causes it...

P.S. is this [overture.com] English?
"For example, supported by its precise, algorithmic matching technology, AltaVista offers paid inclusion products, which allow to businesses to ensure that their Web sites are included in its index."


 7:08 am on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with Learning_curve,

I think Overture knows something we do not.

They probably will loose Yahoo and/or MSN soonest.

Why buy a competitor to your existing clients?

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