As a result of the new deals, Overture says it will be able to offer two new types of search products: One is algorithmic search, or listings in which order is determined not by payment, but by relevance based on proprietary formulas as applied in an automated process. The other is paid inclusion, in which businesses pay for their sites to be regularly examined for inclusion in an algorithmic search engine, though placement isn't guaranteed.
Both AltaVista and FAST operate algorithmic search engines and offer paid inclusion services.
On a conference call with analysts Tuesday, Overture chief Ted Meisel said the deal would ensure that the company has "a full search solution" for online affiliates who want it. "Overture is positioned to build and syndicate the best, most powerful search experience on the Internet, bar none," he said.
Other payoffs of the deals, indicated Meisel, are AltaVista's patent portfolio, FAST's "extremely well-engineered, cutting-edge" technology platform, and FAST's presence in Europe and other international markets, into which Overture has been speeding up its expansion.