Re: Comical buys out for... $3.35M?!

Mark Baker (
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 14:39:00 +0000


Compaq Says No Deal On AltaVista Domain
(07/28/98; 5:17 p.m. ET)
By John Borland, TechWeb

Compaq disputed published reports Tuesday that it
purchased the domain name for more than $3 million.

Citing unnamed sources, a San Francisco Chronicle
article reported
Tuesday that the computer company had purchased
rights to the
Web address in one of the largest domain
transactions in the
Web's history.

But Compaq(company profile) said its talks with
Calif.-based AltaVista Technology, the domain name's
licensee, are not yet concluded.

According to a spokesman for AltaVista Technology,
president Jack Marshall did say Tuesday he had
signed an
agreement with the computer company, but could not

"We're talking with them, but nothing has been
settled," said
Compaq spokesman Don Bradley. "Contract negotiations
underway." Bradley said the company could not
comment on
proposed terms for the domain-name buyout.

Compaq inherited the 2-year-old AltaVista search
site when it
bought Digital Equipment earlier this year. Once one
of the leading
search-engine brands online, the site has lost
ground to
competitors such as Yahoo and Excite as they have
content, services, and Web partners.

The company has indicated it has ambitions to be a
leader in the
portal races, however. A portal site is designed as
a stepping-off
point for the rest of the Net, aggregating large
amounts of Web
content and user services such as free e-mail.

Compaq has begun to bolster the search site with
content "zones"
and portal-style services.

But analysts have said the company is fighting an
uphill battle, not
least because the site still lacks its own easily
domain name.

AltaVista Technology was the original owner of the
domain, but sold it to Digital Equipment in 1996.
Digital licensed
the domain back to AltaVista Technology in 1996,
according to
AltaVista Technology owner Jack Marshall, but asked
for it back
that same year. The two companies have been fighting
over the
domain name in court ever since. The
site -- which
offers domain-name registration, Web hosting, and
other online
services -- receives roughly 500,000 hits per day,
Marshall said
last month. Most of these visitors are looking for
Compaq-owned search service, which still uses the Web address.