US-based internet search engine Alta Vista has launched a major
push into Europe and looks set to appoint United News & Media’s Nicholas
Rudd-Jones to run its UK and Ireland service.
Rudd-Jones took charge of the newspaper group’s online activities in May
after moving across from The Express, where he was managing
He joined Express Newspapers as commercial director in 1996. He was
formerly managing director of Wiltshire Newspapers.
Vesey Crichton, Alta Vista’s European marketing director, confirmed: ’We
are setting up operations across Europe, including the UK and Ireland.
Nicholas is one of a number of people we are talking to about running
He said Rudd-Jones would be unavailable for comment until Alta Vista was
ready to make an official announcement.
Crichton himself was appointed as Alta Vista’s marketing director in
August. He was previously head of marketing at Compaq. In the same
month, Alta Vista hired Wieden & Kennedy to handle a dollars 50 million
global advertising account.
DoubleClick will handle ad sales for Alta Vista’s European
It currently represents the American site in the UK.
Alta Vista already has one European site, in Germany, where it climbed
from the 12th most-visited site into the top three after the
introduction of a German-language service.
Crichton said the next European service would be up and running in ’mid
to late November’. It is likely to be the UK and Ireland version. ’At
the moment that is to be arranged. The business of building a local
index is quite complex, but we’re working on it right now.’
Once a leading search engine, Alta Vista has recently slumped down the
charts in the face of competition from the likes of Lycos and Yahoo!
In June, internet venture capital outfit CMGI acquired an 83 per cent
stake in the company from Compaq in a dollars 2.3 billion deal. Alta
Vista has subsequently said it wants to change its positioning from
search engine to web portal.
It faces a challenge in the UK and Ireland, where Lycos and Yahoo! have
been established for some time.