lucy24 - 10:14 pm on Sep 18, 2013 (gmt 0)
I agree, that seems the most likely culprit
September 2000. Do we have to ditch the "late 1999"?
The paid_inclusion subforum goes back to February 2000. (And seems to have closed up shop in 2006, so it's one of the places I would not have thought to look. My goodness, what a lot of attention AltaVista got back then :))
(linked from one of the threads named above) in June 2001, Brett says explicitly
When I coined Serp
Note how capitalization at this early date is still variable. In the September 2000 thread-- which must now count as our terminus ante quem-- it's "serp", lower case.