A submission to smaller search engines will ensure to drive relevant traffic to a user's site at a low cost, compared to other online or offline advertising methods. A user also gets the benefit of having his search engine submission to all the smaller search engines and directories as an extra bonus.
In 1996, Alta Vista became an exclusive provider of search results for Yahoo. In 1998, Digital was sold to Compaq, and in 1999 Compaq relaunched Alta Vista as a web portal, abandoning their streamlined search page and alienating their core user base. In June of the same year, Compaq paid three point three million dollars for the domain name altavista.com, but it continued to lose the market share, especially to Google. It was subsequently floated from Compaq as an independent company. In February 2003, Alta Vista was bought by Overture Services, Inc. The failed attempt at a "portal" was dropped and the website was again revamped to provide simple search functions. In March 2004, Overture itself was taken over by Yahoo. Shortly after the Yahoo's acquisition, the Alta Vista site started using the Yahoo! Search database.
As it has been mentioned, the search engine went online in 1995 and soon surpassed Lycos and Excite in popularity. It was the first-ever multi-lingual search engine. It was also the first major search engine to support non-Latin languages, such as Japanese or Chinese. Alta Vista later extended it by introducing localized portals in many countries. Alta Vista pioneered a number of common search features, such as searching for phrases, using quotes. The multimedia search was for many years the largest available, as was the database of indexed URIs. Alta Vista was rated as the largest search engine in 1995, and again between 1997 and 1999. Before its switch to the Yahoo! database, Alta Vista had about one billion indexed URIs.
The company's product "BabelFish" offered the Web's first Internet machine translation service that could translate words, phrases or entire Web sites to and from English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and Russian. "Babelfish" is still one of the most popular free translation tools online. Alta Vista has experimented with a variety of databases in addition to their regular Web page database. In the past, they served results from Ask Jeeves, their own Usenet database, RemarQ Usenet, Overture (formerly GoTo) ads, RealNames Internet Keywords and LookSmart categories. As of December 2002, most of these additional databases were gone, except for the Overture paid positioning results, which may appear at the top and bottom of results, labeled as "Sponsored Matches."
Alta Vista has a variety of databases: Web database: Alta Vista's own indexed Web pages, including PDF files, Directory: Open Directory (formerly LookSmart), News: Alta Vista's own crawled pages (formerly from Moreover), Ads: from Overture, Images: Alta Vista's own crawled image files and Audio and Video: Alta Vista's own crawled multimedia files. In addition, there are Alta Vista Shortcuts, which may show up at the top of regular search results. These provide quick links to selected popular information. Furthermore, as far as partners using the Alta Vista database, Yahoo! used to apply Alta Vista as its back-end search engine before Inktomi and then Google. The MSN Web search moved from Inktomi to Alta Vista in September 1999, but then changed back to Inktomi in December. Thus, if anybody wants a lighter-feel than Yahoo, but to still have Yahoo's results, Alta Vista is worth considering.