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Surfers may as well just go to Overture if they want a list of ads. Alta Vista can't be everything to everyone, which (it appears) they are trying to do. They need to make a decision to be either a first rate search engine or a PPC engine.
Their pages are far too busy. Lazy people like myself who don't like having to scroll to find unpaid search results will likely just stick with Google. Google has them beat hands down in that regard. Clean up the pages ... make it easy to find what you are looking for without a lot of distracting things messing up the page and then maybe they stand a chance, who knows?
Their current design is simply awful. The typeface is heavy, chucky and the bolding lacks the design elegance of the others.
The actual AV story is unknown for the most part, I certainly don't have the secrets, but it's struggle has been hard to watch (whatever was Raging Bull anyway?).
Just checked my logs for the entire 2002, AV referrals do not show up so must have had less that 1%. Checking backlinks to me there are really, really dusty.
Given that these are the days when the unimaginable happens, most recently certainly Yinktomi, for AV to last out the year, something extraordinary would have to happen.
Thinking about this today and noodling around there for a while today does not give me cause to be optimistic. It's actually a little bit creepy. All dressed up with "fresh" tags but nowhere to go?
Currently available development talent would not go near them; to make it past the very high hurdles, AV needs a single or group of zealots with very deep pockets combined at least with a clear vision of their position in the future for AV to have shot.
Is that possible? Sure, this is the Wild Wild West. But for AV to compete in the future, even given these things which are are possible and could happen, it seems to me the grappling for the public's attention puts AV in the balcony at best.
I guess this is my ode to them. I won't be spending more time on AV since I bumbled into this post.
Yeah, AV's pages are still "busy" and the advertising mindset is still there, but it's a whole lot better than last year. I think it's much, much better. I doubt that they can afford to drop all the advertising links right now.
I sure can't complain about stale results in AV any more! - All my pages seem to get refreshed every other day. What seems to be missing is an advertising budget; Has anyone seen any kind of ad for the "New! - Lite!" AltaVista?
Even though they whacked my site, it did come back eventually, and I still have fond memories of AV as "my" first search engine. I hope they make it.
I think their demographic is still with older searchers but they are still hanging in there.
Buyers? That would be interesting so long as the buyer did not ruin it.
Same thing happenned to me, still haven't got any pages back in the index despite a phone call to the Sydney office when it happened and resubmitting regularly via basic submit (which I rather liked - contrary to most others on the WebmasterWorld forums), and like Jim, I too have fond memories of AV as my "first" SE.
They've been through a lot over the years and still managed to hold it together ... GO AV GO!
<start rant> But ... I'm strongly averse to PFI.
I'm the one providing the content people go to the SE to look for ... if you must get some money out of me, then please provide a model which suits me (not these every 48 hours jobs) and I might consider it where appropriate ... heck ... I must've been the only person who actually PAID to register our NS browser (back when you had the option to!), so I'm not averse to giving you poor ole USA's the exchange funds you so desperately need! ;-)
It appears from this and other forums that AV needs to get out there, index and include the indexing in results; after all ... what is the webmaster's mantra? " ... content is king ... content is king ... content is king ... content is .."
But I want to see some results before I even consider any exchange of $ for additional marketing oportunities.
So hustle your butts gals and guys @ AV ... the clock is ticking! <end rant>
They've been accused of giving unwarranted relevance to their PFI listings over crawled content, which kinda puts a bad taste in my mouth with regards to their SERP's.
I get the feeling that relevance will always be written off as soon as anyone up there at CMGI moans about shrinking revenues.
But strangely enough, I keep checking back and perform searches when i want a break from Google. I think they still have a good following and hopefully they wont use that fact solely to turn AV into a cash cow. Try rewarding the loyalty by giving Google a run for its money.
And then we got the spin from AV marketers about how good and "clean" the new AV rebranding would be we all got a little bit more excited.
However the reality fell way below the expectations. This was no "sea change" but merely a modification on an old theme. It seemed an idea developed by a commitee of elderly cronies. They still need a kick up the posterior and some innovative vision.
Agreed the SERPs range from acceptable to very good, freshing is great: the main problem is a continuing clutter problem mainly caused by the crud at the bottom (before the next page buttons), 2 banners for every SERP, and their directory categories on the front page, even though they take little time to downlaod and can easily be ignored gives a perception of being very spammy with some of those category titles.
The problem is that on first looks to a new user, it looks more of a shopping/commercial search than a Web search. Once you do a search, the actual sERPs are quite useful going to informative and relevant sites, but those banner ads do slow down loading time on my dial up laptop.
But having said that AV really need to try and shake off their previous bad press and promote their self as the "new" AV. Right now Google still serves the best results, with Fast not that far behind, but I think there is still room for AV if they get their marketing streightened out and move forward.
Despite the recent redesign, AV has got to have one of the absolute worst search results pages. (Not commenting on relevancy - but all the clutter on the page) It's all ads, and links to everything on earth.
Ya gotta scroll forever to find the numbers at the bottom to get to the next page of results. Being one of the pioneers of web search, you'd think AV could do alot better. There is simply no reason to use that engine and plenty of reasons not to.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for a comeback, but not holding my breath.
I would love to see them make a comeback on their own two feet, but failing that I would like to see one of the bigger players purchase their results instead of Google's.
It appears Y! is going towards Ink. So maybe MSN taking on AV results would be good in the eyes of MS as I am sure they won't want to share Inktomi with Y! long term.
Alternatively AOL using AV would also be more acceptable. Hard to see that happening anytime soon :(
Anything that gets some of the eggs out of the Google basket would be good :)
Google treats me good, but I don't like having 80% of the SE power controlled by a bunch of geeks who operate on a philosophical playing field.
Even if the SERPS were as good as Google's, why would people select a screen full of adverts over a cleaner interface? They wouldn't. I sincerely hope AV will get the message eventually, but I suspect they won't.
A comeback is out of the question. Going "clean" now won't save them. They already tried that with Raging Search, and their new AV interface is cleaner than it used to be. Raging Search flopped because it was yet another flip-flop in an ever-changing message. Consumers can only process so much information.
Trying to out-Google Google after Google has Googled you will get you nowhwere.
It simply doesn't matter. AltaVista is yesterday's search engine.
I strongly disagree with the contention that "hype" is what made Google win, or that AV can reclaim past glories by turning on the hype jets now. If you're a member of the press you will know that this is just what AV *has* been doing - with nothing to back up the hype, with no genuine consumer interest, and with fewer and fewer reporters showing sympathy with a company that has lied to them in the past and which does not seem particularly serious about its own product.
Hype is not the answer. AV has failed because it hyped itself when it had nothing to hype. It failed to maintain its leadership position, failed to differentiate itself when it mattered.
Fundamentals, not a lack of hype, are why AV failed. Saying one thing, then doing another, is not my idea of marketing.
New product features are not the fundamentals I'm speaking of. I'm talking about a clear identity, a clear difference, a clear ongoing relationship with an identifiable market. AV has none of these, and neither features nor hype will create them out of thin air. Consistency was needed. AV failed to deliver.