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Recently I searched the (US) AltaVista engine (now owned by Overture), having entered one of my keywords soon found my site, beneath it I clicked the "more pages" link to see the other pages it was listing. To my surprise I found that many pages which I had used the meta-tag noindex were being shown. Thus I can only assume now that the robots that US AltaVista is now relying upon DO NOT respect the meta-tag of NOINDEX.
Not knowing which bot(s) they are now relying upon makes it difficult to control even with the robots.txt file or the .htaccess file
Also checked this aspect with a friend's site, found the main page, but checking the link below to show "more pages" I surprisingly found many of the friend's more private pages that I know he did not want to be indexed.... those pages were of a more adult nature and had never before been able to be found on listing results.
Seems also that upon performing searches on the (US) AltaVista engine that the searches are redirected "rds.yahoo...." (partial given)
Additionally from the main (US) AltaVista page, clicking the submit link now shows many changes regarding paid submissions and basic free submissions, the latter now being provided through Yahoo.
Does anyone (Hello AltaVista--Overture Management) have more detailed information regarding current and future status of the AltaVista engine in the US or elsewhere. Will it die off in favour of Yahoo? What is the current/primary bot being used for AltaVista and why does it not respect the noindex meta tag (possibly also the robots.txt file may be ignored)? Is the same bot(s) also used for Yahoo or another engine?
Previously I believe Overture used the FAST bots which I found had harvested copyrighted images and did other "not-so-nice" things, plus the FAST bot(s) was hitting my sites that I control way too often and for way too much. I finally blocked the FAST bot with .htaccess
If anyone can give some updates and information regarding AltaVista (now owned by Overture.... or is it owned by or partnered with Yahoo.... or one of the same now) would be greatly appreciated. IMHO I feel that quality of AltaVista is diminishing.