AltaVista was thee search engine in it's time. Around the time Google come out, the search results on AltaVista become heavily dominated with paid sites. You use to be able to find what you wanted within the first few hits on Altavista. Then, it started taking 2 to 3 pages of search results to find what you were looking for. Often, those 2 to 3 pages included repeated links to the same paid sites.
Google brought back the magic of being able to find what you wanted. Not pages and pages of paid links.