If you can't beat 'em ... merge with 'em. That's the message we might take from the announcement that users of the Yahoo! Internet catalogue will now be able to directly use Digital's powerful AltaVista search engine.
Yahoo! has signed a letter of intent with Digital, promising to feature AltaVista as its preferred search engine, with results displayed on the Yahoo! site. While Yahoo!, one of the Web's first directories, still has a strong brand and a popular look and feel, it has failed to match the power of the increasingly numerous search engines, such as AltaVista, some of which have even compiled their own directories.
The AltaVista deal also provides Yahoo! with more screen real estate to offer advertisers, with all search results carrying an ad banner sold by Yahoo! The company has also begun spinning off its brand into different interest groups (Yahoo! Computing), demographics (Yahooligans!, a Web guide for kids) and territories (Yahoo! Germany and others).
Digital, meanwhile, has reshaped the AltaVista brand to cover not only its successful search engine but a range of communication, collaboration, networking and search tools.