Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/08/08/altavista_spooked_by_ghost_service/

AltaVista spooked by ghost service

ISP fails to answer vital questions

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Media, 8th August 2000 11:27 GMT

AltaVista has refused to provide any proof that its much-hyped unmetered access product - announced in March - is anything more than a phantom service.

Despite repeated requests for confirmation the e-company has failed to deliver any proof that the service has been rolled out.

One PR said the service was being used by more than 100,000 people and that 90,000 a month were signing up to the service. However, when pressed, another PR said this was merely the number AltaVista could accommodate per month.

No one using the service has come forward despite a Register plea yesterday for them to do so. A similar request made by the Mirror also proved fruitless.

A newsgroup search has also failed to unearth any evidence that Net users in Britain are using the service.

And no one at AltaVista's PR agency was able to supply details of a single user.

There is a growing weight of evidence that something is not quite right at Alta Vista and that its unmetered service is simply bogus. Whispers of suspicion surrounding the authenticity of its offering have grown over the last couple of months to a deafening roar.

The Register is sceptical that the service -endorsed by Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair - even exists.

One Net user who contacted The Register said: "Despite registering my interest on the very day of AV's announcement I haven't been offered anything.

"I have been sent several emails about how super the service will be, however," he said.

According to AltaVista's PR agency, only AltaVista's UK MD, Andy Mitchell, is prepared to speak to the press on this subject.

Although he is reportedly "on holiday" he was contacted by his PR agency and asked to address the concerns. He refused.

No one else at AltaVista was prepared - or is able - to comment. ®

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