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Going, Going, Gone: AltaVista Auctions Positions

In April, AltaVista announced that they will be auctioning off the #1 and #2 positions for more competitive search terms. If a keyword phrase gets more than 100,000 searches a month, the terms will go up for sale.

The minimum bid is $.25 per keyword, and then increases are in $.05 increments.

For example, a search for "auto insurance" will bring up a page with the usual ad for RealNames at the top, followed by a box which is entitled "AV Relevant Paid Links."

For more information about this new controversial policy, read what AltaVista has to say about it.

For some time now, AltaVista has relied on more than just their spiders to come up with their information, LookSmart and AskJeeves at the top of the list.

Despite the loud protests of the search engine submission community, there will actually be no difference in the order of hits on a result page, due to the box which surrounds the paid listing. In other words, a searcher will be able to delineate between actual search results and the paid listing. However, the question still remains: will searchers be more apt to click on something that lists at the top of the page -- paid for or not -- than the actual results? We shall see.


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