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Friday, September 27, 2002

Hurry into AltaVista's Discount Warehouse Blowout Clearance Event!

Ever since they invented a story about 100,000 ISP subscribers to a UK Internet service that didn’t exist, we’ve suspected AltaVista weren’t straight shooters. Hey, we’re prepared to forgive and forget, but subsequent gaffes used up just about any goodwill this formerly-respected search index had left.

In recent months, I’ve received many unsolicited sales pitches from AltaVista sales reps, most of them wanting me to buy advertising for low, low prices.

A recent exchange blew my mind again, and I thought I’d seen it all from this company. A salesperson cold-contacted me to inquire if I would be interested in reselling AltaVista Express Inclusion and Trusted Feed to “my clients.” The bait on the hook was the claim (in an email entitled “A Great AltaVista Reseller Opportunity”) that if a corporate client signs up for trusted feed, not only do their pages get spidered and included in the index (guaranteed), but that Trusted Feed clients “get indexed much higher.”

Wait a minute, I thought. Other paid inclusion services, such as FAST’s and Inktomi’s, do not guarantee high rankings – just inclusion and regular respidering. Everyone in the search engine world (including the colleagues I shared this episode with) assumed AltaVista was the same.

So I challenged the sales rep on this point. He then sent me an email with the text of AltaVista’s corporate info on paid inclusion – the same stuff you can see on their web site. It says nothing about guaranteeing high rankings to Trusted Feed participants. So I gave the rep an opportunity to distance himself from his claim of higher indexing. I believe my exact words were: “Are you now distancing yourself from this claim?”

He wasn’t. His next point was even more specific: “all of your clients will be indexed on the first three pages.”

If this is true, then AltaVista is telling the public and the press one thing, and search engine optimization consultants and corporate advertisers another thing. If not, then why does AltaVista employ sales reps to make inaccurate claims about the purpose of Trusted Feed?

I have a feeling this is all going to come out in the wash soon. AltaVista needs to make a public statement on this, and it needs to be true. If they intend to deny it (which seems likely), they can’t keep on selling Trusted Feed to large advertisers using higher indexing as bait. Someone is going to find out, put two and two together, and rat on them. So what’s the real story, AV?

Posted by Andrew
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Beam me up... please

Sadly, this gem from Priceline was the most interesing dot-com news today.

Posted by Andrew
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Monday, September 23, 2002

Click the Monkey? Click This!

If this is Monday, we must be in Hell. Above my Yahoo Mail inbox today, I saw an annoying (and misleading, if you're really, really stupid) flashing banner that said "IF THIS BANNER IS FLASHING, THEN YOU'VE JUST RECEIVED AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE!" And that message is: Yahoo disrespects its Yahoo Mail customers so much that it's still forcing us to look at this crap all for the sake of about two bucks for every 10,000 impressions.

Posted by Andrew
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Yahoo Mail search works better full-text

As a follow-up to the last note, remember to check "search full text" when you want to sift through your Yahoo mail. Otherwise, you'll just be searching message titles, and that may not help you find the message you need. That little check box is easy to forget.

Posted by Andrew
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