As search caught on in the mid-'90s, search engines tried to monetize the newfound traffic to their sites. The real potential for revenue was in ads placed within or alongside search results, where users who might be interested in the ads were sure to see them. It was controversial; many of the Web's original members wanted to maintain its noncommercial status. "There was a debate about accepting pay for placement," says Louis Monier, founder of the AltaVista search engine research project at Digital. "I was enormously opposed to that."
(click image for larger view)
But it was AltaVista that established the universality of full-page Web searches with subsecond response times. AltaVista set the standard Google had to match, says Cormier, now executive VP with Linux marketer Red Hat. "We let the technologist and research purists drive it too much," he laments. "It wouldn't have hurt to have had a little business entrepreneurial influence" on the team back then.
Return to the story:
What's The Greatest Web Software Ever Written?
Read the blog:
Greatest Web Software: Let's Hear Your Choices
A History of Web Software