AltaVista Unveils Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Program

Internet search engine and born-again portal AltaVista is paying a new network of affiliated Web sites for every surfer they send its way.

Officially launched this week, the AltaVista Affiliate Network allows any individual or company with a Web site to quickly add attractive search boxes to their pages that will link users to AltaVista’s Internet-search machines.

AltaVista, majority-owned by CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq:CMGI), will pay affiliates three cents for each visit — or “click-through” — generated by their sites.

Affiliate Programs Not New

AltaVista is not the first Web-search destination to pay other sites through an affiliate program. Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq:LCOS), which counts CMGI as a major shareholder, has operated its Lycos Traffic Affiliate Program for some time and also pays its network members three cents per click.

However, AltaVista VP of Marketing Charles Rashall told Newsbytes that his company argues that it is offering the most comprehensive suite of search tools. In addition to the AltaVista Web-page search, a variety of sizes and shapes of search boxes will be available for:

Language translation of entire blocks of text through Babel Fish.

Multimedia searches for audio, video and image files.

Combing through the company’s database of real-time news and information services.

News group and message boards search.

Stock quotes, ticker symbol lookup and company research.

Like the Lycos affiliate program, the clicks and related accounting are being managed by Be Free, Inc. (Nasdaq:BFRE), a company that hosts such programs for dozens on major Web destinations.

Useful Information

AltaVista said that the traffic reports available to affiliate members through Be Free’s will contain useful information about click-through rates and gross impressions.

The launch of its affiliate network is one of several announcements in the pipeline for AltaVista this week. The company yesterday announced that it had created a new business unit that will license its search-engine technology to other companies.

AltaVista Business Solutions will enable companies to use its search technology to power their own Websites or corporate intranet document lookups.

The company yesterday also said that it was working with Internet start-up Yodlee to launch AltaVista’s “My Accounts” service, which will provide a one-stop, secure repository for account-based information, such as online bank access and stock portfolios.

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