For what it's worth, Overture Services (OVER) said Thursday that it has renewed an affiliation agreement with the AltaVista Web site.

Though AltaVista's ability to reap business for Overture doesn't seem overwhelming, Overture shareholders reacted positively, sending the pay-per-click search engine's shares up 7% Thursday morning to trade at $18.80.

Overture's shares have swung wildly in recent months as investors, jittery about the competition for face time that the pay-per-click search engine faces from rival Google and others, have reacted to the fate of Overture's affiliation with various Internet properties.

In late April, Overture's shares jumped on the news that the firm had re-upped a deal with



. But in early May, Overture's stock plummeted after it parted ways with

AOL Time Warner's


America Online.

But though AltaVista was once a giant among Internet portals, the



-owned outfit is a mere stripling compared with AOL and Yahoo!.

In the latest monthly survey of U.S. Internet usage at home and at work, Jupiter Media Metrix found that AOL Time Warner's and Yahoo!'s online properties were the first and third most-visited sites in April, attracting 93 million and 80 million different visitors, respectively. AltaVista was ranked No. 71, with fewer than 7 million visitors.

The canyon between AltaVista and the others was neither so wide nor so deep two years ago. In July 2000, according to Media Metrix, AltaVista was ranked No. 8 on the list with more than 15 million visitors; at the time, AOL and Yahoo! had 59 million and 48 million visitors, respectively.