The redesign, unveiled Tuesday, comes amid an overall decline in the use of banner ads online, as advertisers move on to larger, more eye-catching formats as well as to the kind of simple, text-only marketing popularized by paid search listing pioneer Overture Services. According to research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the use of banner ads dropped by 4 percent in the first half of 2002 from the first half in 2001.
Oslo, Norway-based Fast's decision follows similar moves by search companies AltaVista and Ask Jeeves, which dropped the banner-ad format last year.
Banner ads "don't add value and I think they're on they're way out," said Peter Bauert, director of business development for AlltheWeb.com. "Any time you have a standard form like that, people start to ignore it."
Similar to Google, the new AlltheWeb.com design offers little more than a search box that lets people query an index of more than 2.1 billion text, image and audio files.
Last week, OvertureFast's Web search technology and AlltheWeb.com for nearly $100 million in cash. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company is betting that Fast's highly regarded search technology will complement its paid search service and help it better compete with Google, which offers both paid and Web search.