• http://www.oaultimate.com/ oa ultimate

    So sad, i used to play with AltaVista long before Google’s invasion on our internet explorer. RIP, AltaVista.

  • apfwebs

    AltaVista was my first home page. Then came the Wicked Witch from the West.

  • sternhead

    Poor AltaVista can’t even get a proofread internet eulogy.

  • Art Thompson, Jr.

    I used to use AltaVista, but now I use Google. Amen.

  • http://www.stopstressandanxiety.com/ Mulyadi Kurnia

    I have never really used Altavista as search tool but I have read story about the search engine from a book by John A Vise “The Google Story”. To me, the demise of Altavista is part of the game where the best wins (in this current time, Google is the best). Kind of sad, but need to let go.

  • Brian Klais

    Danny thanks, nice to see this. My 10 yr old asked me recently – Dad, what was Alta Vista? I felt sad (and old) to have to explain it to her. What do you say? They were our Google, before there was a Google. Snow capped mountains: RIP. You opened our minds to what a search engine should be!

  • joebeans

    It’s really classy that you’d point that out in a eulogy. Granted, it’s not a eulogy for a person, but still you just had to twist the knife. That fact that you ‘never really used it’ is just stupid icing on the moron cake.

  • Zachary Ziegler

    Anyone remember the old Northern Light search engine?

  • disqusashto

    I remember.

  • Ronnie’s Mustache

    Hot Bot?

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    I remember when Alta Vista was new… and AOL starter CDs were drink coasters. I feel old.

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    I worked for a small start up in the bay area which managed the Overture/AltaVista pay per inclusion program. I remember auditing 500+ pages a day! Catching crooks, frauds, pervs, and evil doers was actually done by a human being a long time ago…before they were replaced by a script. The glory days!

    You deserved better than this AltaVista.

    RIP :-(

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    I remember them.

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    I remember as well. I always like their logo. How about SearchWheel or Jade?

  • Durant Imboden

    Yep. But my favorite of the old search engines was InfoSeek: Nice interface, and–more important–it loved my pages. :-)

  • Pat Grady

    Hasta la vista, Alta Vista!

  • http://grandadmiralgainz.blogspot.com/ Grand Admiral Gainz

    I remember the good old days of AltaVista. This post brings back so many memories. I would love to go back to 1998, when I sat in front of a computer with a 28.8k modem, just once, to search for Souryu Asuka Langley thumbnails on AltaVista.

  • Rakesh Kamandal

    Rest in peace, AltaVista I Like that line – Rest in peace, AltaVista

  • MarkinArl

    AOL starter CDs? That was after the starter floppies which could, at least, have a use.

  • César Ángel Colín Vázquez

    I’m one of those that used to use Altavista and now Google; Altavista was THE search engine until Google was born, was the only one I used to search the web, so this is my tribute to Altavista: I just made my last search with Altavista for the word “goodbye”.

  • novemh

    Was one of the people who used to use Alta Vista and now Google. It was during my high school days when I started using Alta Vista and I can say it really contributed much on my studies especially on my research, it made life more easier compared to going to school library and flipping out pages.

  • Miramon

    Alta Vista was bad from the very beginning, but there was admittedly a period in which it was the best, despite that badness. It did at least point the way toward Google. And of course, every one of its purchasers failed to understand what to do with search, or even how to do search over the entire history of its existence.

  • ScrittiPolitti

    Didn’t mention AltaVista going to a private, paid model.

  • ScrittiPolitti

    And we love your spam.

  • Earl Grey

    The first search engine i used was SplatSearch
    and then i bought it 7 years later

  • fallacycomp

    AltaVista was in my internet toolkit along with Web Wombat, Ask Jeezes and Yahoo!

    Like most other high-school kids, the two main reasons why I started using Google was because it was easier to type in the URL bar and loaded incredibly fast.

  • http://www.webranking.com/ James Svoboda

    Good bye old friend. You will be missed. R.I.P.

  • Andrew Heenan

    RIP, AV – best in your time, destroyed by idiot owners – and helped down by the dot.com bust (timing is everything; go tell Apple).
    Technologically, you were outgunned by innovative Google; culturally, you just fossilized.
    And I have to admit, I thought you went years ago.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    When the story first went up, it was proofread only within the draft area (where it’s hard to read). After it was published, within the first half-hour, I proofread it live. Twice. I’ve just done so again now, and I’m not seeing any issues. If you still see something, I’d love to know.

  • Chris Roberts

    Thank you Danny. How about one for Veronica?

  • xmeister

    I wonder how many other Xs are out there. Firefox-Chrome would probably be one.

  • http://www.twitter.com/stevenkane Steven Kane

    Thank you for this post. Needed to be said!

  • martyhalpern

    Count me in as another “I used to use AltaVista, but now I use Google” user….

  • http://www.kennedypittman.com/ Kennedy Pittman

    It’s almost impossible to proofread my own writing, I just read what my brain intended regardless of the actual text.

  • Elizabeth A. Evans

    I am very, very sad. I used to use AltaVista. I *still* use AltaVista. Many people ask me why. Because when I periodically compare results of the searches I do using both AltaVista and Google, I get pretty much the same results. I’m sure this isn’t true for everybody, but basically, I find what I need, so I resist switching. I *almost* switched months ago when for a brief time, AltaVista removed the ability to do phrase searching by enclosing it in quotes. I exchanged email with the support folks multiple times saying, “I’ve resisted Google, but if this function doesn’t come back, I’m going to have to switch.” Finally, it came back, and I settled back into being a blissful non-Googler. What do I remember most about the early days of AltaVista? The ability to differentiate between upper and lower case. It was powerful in limiting searches even in the days of *only* 20 millions indexed pages.

    Although I *do* use gmail and other Google options, I will continue to use the general “search” instead of making Google into a verb. Well, maybe on July 8, I’ll use AltaVista as a verb in tribute… “Go AltaVista it.” ” I AltaVistaed it.”


  • Melinda Colos

    just as Andrew said I am startled that anyone able to earn $4956 in four weeks on the computer. did you read this site w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • tommariner

    Many of the gigantic tech companies forget they come from innovation and hire “managers” to make sure those techies don’t spend too much of the revenue that they KNOW was obtained through clever marketing and good finance. Oh, and “Human Resources” who make sure nobody like those geniuses that dreamed up the original products get hired or promoted. Xerox PARC, DEC anything, Kodak, Apple after Steve Jobs I, and countless others get high paid veeps defending their turfs.

    Google was a couple of certified crazies, hopefully still is (although hopefully a lot more “of course we can do that” technical egos). Yeah, AltaVista was the first really useful search that made me think, “hey this Internet thing is bloody useful!”. Danny’s right — If it was bought by Google, there would be an “AltaVista” page offered as the normal Google page today!

  • Emma Freeman

    I defected from WebCrawler to Alta Vista because it was so much better. *Sigh* Bye bye, Alta Vista. You will be remembered, I promise.

  • http://www.acsius.com/ Arun Singh

    Thanks for this post Danny. I did not use AltaVista for years but I do recall it was my favorite one long long ago.

  • http://www.archology.com/ Jenny Halasz

    Alta Vista and Tedster, in one week. It’s the end of an era. RIP.

  • Br. Bill

    AltaVista used to have some great features none of the other engines currently has: the “near” keyword and the search on wildcards. “William near Perry” would get you pages where the two words were both there but only if they were within a few words of each other. Wildcards? Super useful, but none of these other so-called “search engines” seems to have the stones to implement it. RIP, AltaVista. And soon we will say goodbye to Yahoo as well, I wager.

  • http://www.molehill.com.au/ Max Lynam

    I loved altavista search … it beat google and everyone else hands down. Had always wondered why it died a slow retiring death, so thanks for shedding light – seems the corporates killed something beautiful and useful.

  • ChadF

    For a while you could use the AOL starters to test that your postal mail was being delivered reliably.. if you didn’t receive at least one (or two) of them each month, you would know something was wrong. ;)

  • http://www.elite-strategies.com/blog Patrick Coombe

    web crawler was my original, followed by Lycos and Excite

  • http://www.elite-strategies.com/blog Patrick Coombe

    uh oh grammar police in the house

  • http://aalbc.com Troy Johnson

    Nice article but I’d image the majority of users online today, sadly, have no idea what you are talking about. I too remember thinking “whoa” when Altavista launched.

  • pj

    i think the only, repeat only, thing truly, legitimately interesting
    about this article, with all of its cliche snark, attempt at ironic
    humor etc. is that it flawlessly displays the internet “community’s”
    utter and complete vacuous fascination with how the internet and web
    evolve, develop, grow, progress, etc. etc.
    except, instead of simply recognizing that this evolution is a natural progression, and in reality is no big deal, they (you) hyperventilate with ooohs and ahhhs
    about ‘what used to be’ and ‘then this happened’ and ‘then this came
    along’ and how quaint it all was ‘back then’ blah blah blah.
    in reality we’re talking about relatively a very very short period of
    time, and these things which are referenced with such dramatic
    pseudo-awe (a search engine before google!, an ipo!) are exactly,
    precisely what exists… today. yes, it’s better now. no shit, that’s
    called advancement, and that happens particularly fast and makes great
    leaps when we’re talking hi-tech, such as the internet, computers, etc.
    but aside from the efficiencies and advancements, exactly the same stuff is
    happening now as did ‘back then’. you type a search the same way now as
    you did when you used alta vista. there are ipos now (some just as
    dubious) as there were ‘back then’.
    it’s. all. the. same. and none of this recognition requires the hyper-dramatic expressions of ‘wow!’ that articles like this represent and inspire.
    if google came along and did it better, with a better algorithm and figured
    out a better way to monetize it, then, yeah, that’s what happens,
    whether it’s a better car or train, or steel making process, or internet
    product. it. happens. all. the. time.
    no ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ filled with endless quasi-humor is required. and certainly no
    fascination with what existed not all that long ago and still is extant
    today in much the same form.

  • thatguyknows

    You kept a naive public safe…kudos to you sir (or madam).

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    Oh how I remember. It was $99 ($49 for one URL with a $50 deposit for the clicks) pay per inclusion. URLs 2-10 were $29 each all sharing the same $50 deposit.

    URLs 11-999 was $10 each.

    Click charge was either $0.15 or $0.30 cents-depending on the category your company was placed in. Adult was $0.15 and Apparel was $0.30

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    Just reminiscing and appreciating what was…and enjoying what is coming next; Technology speaking.