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Keyword auctions ends at AltaVista

Search site no longer taking cash for cash-linked searches

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AltaVista has scrapped its Relevant Paid Links Program in the wake of mounting criticism about its practice of selling keywords to the highest bidder. In return for a stash of cash, AltaVista gave advertisers prime spots when Net users searched for certain products. These auctioned results were published ahead of the regular search queries giving these advertisers a prime spot on the Web's most powerful search engine. According to Wired News, which originally broke the story, no one at AltaVista was available to comment. Instead, a message posted on the site reads: "The Relevant Paid Links Program has been discontinued as of July 22, 1999. No more keyword bids are being accepted. If you have previously placed a bid and won a placement during the week of July 6 to 13, your relevant link will still run, during the week of July 19 to 26, without charge. If you have placed bids after July 13, your relevant link will not run and, subsequently, there will be no charge." The scheme was first introduced in April and is one of a number of money-making initiatives from AltaVista. ®

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