AltaVista To Close Own Shopping Search

AltaVista will no longer gather its own shopping search information but instead plans to outsource for this feature, in the near future.

"We have been approached by several leading shopping sites who are interested in becoming a strategic partner for us in this space," said spokesperson Kristi Kaspar.

AltaVista gained its own shopping search ability via the Compaq acquisition of back in January 1999. Despite outsourcing shopping search, the company does plan to continue producing its own web-wide search index.

Meanwhile, the paid listings dance at AltaVista that has gone on this year continues. Paid listings from AltaVista or Overture now appear under the "Products and Services" heading at the top of the results page, then again come more links under that heading at the bottom of the results page. At least, that's what was happening Monday. I've seen the bottom listings called "Featured Sites" last week, and no doubt we'll see things change once again, going forward.

Just to confuse you more, you'll also find that in some cases, no paid listings from Overture appear. For example, a search for "cars" brings up only one paid listing, this being sold by AltaVista itself. Most likely, a deal with the advertiser prevents any Overture listings from appearing.

So, if you are an Overture advertiser, you can expect that being in position 1 through 6 may get you on the AltaVista results page, if it hasn't sold any ads itself. However, if AltaVista has sold ads, you may find that you won't appear at all, or you may appear if you are in positions 1-5, if AltaVista has sold an ad without a competitive restriction. And you may find that all this changes next week, if AltaVista once again moves things around without warning or consistency.

AltaVista pulls down the blinds on e-tail unit, Oct. 8, 2001

Short details on closure of AltaVista's shopping search. AltaVista is "entirely committed" to continuing to operate a consumer-oriented search site, however. Sorry about the big, long URL. That's just the way this site does it. If the URL doesn't work, then try searching for the story title, at this site.