In the early days of the internet, search engines were still brand new and there was uncertainty about which ones would catch on and how users would interact with the various brands. You had options like AltaVista (1995), Ask Jeeves (1996) and HotBot (1996). Over the years, many of these brands have declined or been purchased. HotBot now uses Bing for searches, Ask Jeeves got rebranded as Ask and AltaVista was bought out by Yahoo! and then shut down. Most search traffic now falls into predictable patterns with a few companies dominating the traffic, and it's important to look at exactly what the numbers show.