Alta Vista has been through many lives in its time. From 1995 into 1996 I recall it being the search engine of choice. Yahoo came on strong in the post-Netscape IPO (not that they didn’t already have a great site) era and won over most of the traffic, creating a new world of the personalized portal. AV tried that and gave it a pretty good go… They could never quite keep up though with the traffic attracted to AOL, Yahoo and MSN. Once Google came on, they officially lost what little they had left. An under promoted venture into quick search, called Raging Search was released to compete with the pure search move, while still trying attract surfers to their portal offering.
My company helped launch the UI, rewards system and all the marketing for the Shopping service within AV in 2000. It is now an affiliate shopping service with Dealtime. At the time, it was widely regarded as a huge success, generating large traffic volumes to earn rewards and shop online. Shortly after the launch, however, AV went through an aborted IPO, lost their CEO and nuked the shopping service, which was the first of the soon to be developed/released personalized services. Game over. From that point, in my humble opinion, AV sank into the abyss… While I can certainly respect another go, it is hard to believe that they will gain any traction given the sheer strength of Google and the even deeper traction and association the surfing public has into their portal of choice.
AltaVista searches for a new image: “The struggling company is trying to recapture its former glory as a search engine heavyweight with a newly redesigned Web site that takes a cue from current search champ Google.” Source: CNET News.com