Alta Vista Sells Keywords

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Search engine Alta Vista, a unit of Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, will begin letting advertisers buy the right to be listed at the top of search results, reports said yesterday. In a move that partly copies the business model of GoTo.com, Pasadena, CA, Alta Vista plans to let advertisers bid on how prominently links to their sites will appear on consumers' screens. For example, a person looking for matches on the keyword "car" might see a link to an auto manufacturer who advertises with Alta Vista at the top of their results. Clients pay the search engine a small fee for each online user who clicks through to their site from the search page.
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