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Altavista going pay-for-play?

10:43 am on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Alta has been floating a great deal of backroom trial ballon talk about going PPC. It appears that this is going to be implimented in stages.

This week Private Media.com (adult rated website builders) have announced they have signed a deal with Alta for 75% of the adult keywords on Alta.

A nice story on the subject at Traffick [traffick.com] by Andrew Goodman and another story (good) at Utne.com [utne.com].

This alone leaves Fast [alltheweb.com] and Google as the only pure (honest) search engines available. (although Google is blurring the lines with its text based keyword ad purchases).

Alta is the oldest pure search engine left on the internet. I feel like trying to rally the troops to head off the Alta sellout like we did last time, but there is little hope that it would do any good. The economic pressures to produce profit on Alta right now are extreme - it's do or die time for them.

3:28 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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This deal that Private has cut, is that not just for the Euro AV?
4:39 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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You're right drbill, for now it is confined to europe (although it seems AV nordic is in dispute).

The european porn deal doesn't bug me near as much as their rumored plan to switch to an inktomi style pay for spidering system.

6:23 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Seth. I know what you mean.. The "pay for play" that AV is rumoured to be looking it is scary. I think that if you pay for a domain why not include the spidering of the whole site.? Would that not make more use the systems they are talking about?
7:11 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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In the Utne story Brett referenced above, the description of GoTo says:

In other words, companies pay a premium to be listed at the top of the search-results page -- whether or not the link is relevant to the search.

That's some nasty misinformation. In my experience the GoTo editors are hawks about not selling keywords that are even slightly off-topic to the clickthrough page.

8:15 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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tedster et al
Rumor has it... if you are a heavy advertiser at GoTo <over $5k month account> you are considered a "sales account" rather than online account, and relevance is <ahem> conditional.

han solo

9:58 pm on Nov 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I have been thinking, ever since they backed out of their first IPO attempt last year, or was there one before that?

Altavista has a great service, and nobody can deny, I think, that in terms of their advanced search features, when you customize the results you're looking for, nobody can beat them.

But with Google rising, what does that tell you about the web community at large? That they want a fast, semi reliable way to get at a large chunk of information, whether or not it was accurate, they just don't want their time wasted.

Now AV, which produces results that boggle the mind for relevance, is having trouble because CMGI is going south in a hurry, this means they need money. So their looking at any avenue down which leads more money, even if "joe user" starts realizing it's paid results, will he stop using it? Probably not, but if Google turned up their PR machine, there is a good chance he/she would start surfing someplace else anyway.

The advanced search options won't disappear, and the moment they start clouding those results, I am convinced they will disappear. Until then, I don't care how/where/why the chase whatever money they can get. I'm just not going to give them mine. ;)</rant>


2:38 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

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It's funny you mention that because I was wondering the same thing today while reading this thread. Sure enough I'm on GoTo doing a search on, in this example, "washington real estate" and turned up a generic loan-related site from a LendingTree affiliate (same results with other U.S. state names).

It's good marketing on the part of the companies in question (who are bidding $.60-.82 per click), but only tangentially relevant to me as a surfer looking for "<some state> real estate". If I search for "big screen TV" I wouldn't want to see Visa returned as the top result just because they'll lend me the money to buy one! Anyway, I think at least one of the bidders there would qualify as a "sales account", assuming that rumor is true. Money talks. ;)

[P.S. -- okay so I'm a little envious too. ;)]