ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, FreeAV,, AltaVista

ISP Hall of Shame Inductee

FreeAV via

ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, FreeAV,, AltaVista


FreeAV via defunct

Personal agony: August 2000 to November 2000

In the wake of my AT&T@Home cable modem disaster and the Freewwweb bungle, I endured a rather grim stretch of time booting Windows (yuck!) and running crummy Windows-based free ISP clients. Since I only have one POTS line, this ties up my phone line for hours. I gave out a decent voice mailbox number to my friends and family during the interim.

FreeAV was AltaVista's ill-fated attempt in providing free Internet connectivity was back in the days of AltaVista's ill-fated attempt in being a big Internet portal like Yahoo! or MSN.

Most of these free ISPs have a crummy banner-ad scrolling "control bar" that pops up to the top. Some of them had inactivity timeouts; essentially, if you didn't click on one of their crappy ads occasionally, it would hang up. Tick off your customers by forcing them to look at ads. Great business model, guys! Now, why do think so many people think television sucks? Hmmm?

You can't have just one of these free ISPs. You need three or four of them because one ISP's modem point-of-presence server would die. These outages were happening more often. Increasing frequency of problems = bad.

December 5, 2000 update - You've got mail!

December 10, 2000 update - Game over

Buh bye! Oh, and thanks for the FC points for yours truly. Woohoo!

January 22, 2001 update

200 people laid off (approximately 25 percent) = 154 FC points!

April 6, 2001 update

Dot.combomb incubator incinerator CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) share price hits a new 52-week low today at $1.75.

May 3, 2001 update

Before there was Google, there was AltaVista. And before there was AltaVista, there wasn't anything at all.

CMGI acquired AltaVista from Compaq/DEC and tried to turn it from a pretty good search engine to a mega-portal. They failed. They dumped the free Internet access and clobbered their ambitious portal plans. Now, they're just a mediocre search engine. Unlike Google, AltaVista indexes are full of dead links and they don't cache pages.

Thanks for the generous and continuous stream of FC points!

August 31, 2001 update

What happens when a steady stream of senior executives flee moribund search engine company, and onetime wannabee mega-portal, 160 FC points!

September 17, 2001 update

James Barnett, former president of is appointed the new AltaVista CEO; another 30 percent of the staff (160 employees) got their pink slips. 155 FC points!

September 26, 2001 update

CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) share price closes at a new 52-week low today at exactly one American greenback with an intraday low of $0.98.

Hmmm, maybe the market is reacting to CMGI's $1.4 billion loss in Q4. 170 FC points!

October 5, 2001 update

CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) share price continues to free fall and closes at a new 52-week low today $0.71 with an intraday low of $0.68.

October 8, 2001 update - Thanks for!

Rumor has it that AltaVista's e-tailer site will be packing it in at the end of the month. 190 FC points and induction into the Hall of Fame!

October 24, 2001 update

Reports are emerging that AltaVista hasn't updated its search engine database since July. Big deal. They keep broken links in their databases for many months, sometimes even years. The search engine is virtually unusable now because of all the cruft it contains. Oddly, the media seems to think this is news.

Attention journalists: this is not news. Anyone who knows anything about the Internet knows that AltaVista's search engine is worthless.

February 19, 2002 update

Deep-sixing practically the last of its portal features, AltaVista is clobbering its free e-mail service. Damn, how lame can you get?!? Oh yes, 171 FCpoints.

In other related news, beleaguered parent company CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) has appointed George McMillan as CEO, replacing the highly ineffective dot-com era dinosaur, David Wetherell (who, of course, remains as chairman of the board).

February 21, 2002 update - Finally

175 FC points for CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) who lost $5.5 billion last year. In a stunning moment of irony, CEO Wetherell will step down on 1 March 2002, i.e., MarchFirst.


Last modified on Mon Aug 9 00:23:14 GMT 2004
Copyright © 1999-2003 Tara Hertz.
All rights reserved.

ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, FreeAV,, AltaVista