Internet search engine and portal operator AltaVista has filed a registration statement for an initial public offering (IPO) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company's filing shows revenue climbing fast and, as with most Internet ventures, losses continuing to exceed revenue. AltaVista reported total revenue in the first nine months of the current year at $108.2 million, against an operating loss of $86 million, and net loss of $745.1 million.

The company reported that 63.3 per cent of total revenue in the year to date has come from advertising and services, with the remainder from products. In 1998, advertising and service revenue represented 82.1 per cent of total revenue.

AltaVista was a pioneer of Internet search engine technology, and launched onto the Web with a bang in November 1995 with its claim of a database that contained half of the entire Web - some 60 million documents at the time. In addition to offering a public search engine, the company also produces search engines for use on third party sites and intranets.