RealTime IT News

AltaVista Seeks NZ Audience

Internet search service AltaVista has followed its October Australian launch by opening for business in New Zealand, with an index of more than three million NZ pages and access to its 550 million-page global index.

AltaVista has launched the NZ service on the back of survey data on the proportion of New Zealanders online. AC Nielsen has put the figure at 40 percent, or roughly 1.6 million people, accessing the Web form home.

"New Zealand is attractive to AltaVista," said AltaVista Australia and NZ managing director Mel Bohse. "Adoption of new technologies is rapid here and New Zealand is one of the leading technology nations in Asia and the South Pacific."

Bohse added that AltaVista was drawn to the NZ market by Forrester reports that the country9s Internet growth is extending beyond home use, with the NZ online advertising market is expected to grow to be worth around $44 million this year.

To help take advantage of the opportunity it sees, AltaVista NZ has appointed Auckland-based Internet-focused advertising agency WebMasters Network as its advertising sales partner.

"The Australian site continues to grow with traffic and revenue building rapidly and we look to repeat if not exceed the pattern in the New Zealand market," Bohse said of AltaVista's expectations of the NZ service. "Online advertising is not dead, as with traditional marketing it is all about target marketing and optimising your online strategy and tools."

"Search is still the second most popular activity on the Internet after email, and AltaVista is primed to offer a compelling online advertising strategy," she said.

International sites are becoming increasingly important to AltaVista9s business, with more than half of the service's 65 million monthly users visiting the altavista.com core site from outside the US. The company has also reported a 500 percent growth over the past year in page view views among AltaVista9s international sites.

AltaVista has adopted a localised strategy toward the 19 international markets in which it has launched its service, according to Bohse. "A one glove fits all approach is not suitable for the varied international marketplace," she said. Bohse maintained that the strategy of developing country-specific Web sites indexes allowed sites to "be indexed more deeply than could ever be done for a world index," so that users could obtain more relevant search results.