Just got an email from someone searching for her altavista.net email address. Somehow google turned me up. Perhaps other people are helped by it too, so I'm putting my answer up here :-)
Short answer: all the altavista.net email addresses are gone, probably including all old mails and so.
Altavista.net originally belonged to the altavista searchengine. Just like many companies they started to give away free email accounts. At a certain point they didn't like that part of the business anymore and gave it to mail.com .
As was to be expected, you had to pay for it after it had been free for the first year or so, at least if you wanted to have something more than just the web interface (like, downloading your mail with POP3). They didn't manage to get their payment forms in order, so I couldn't add my data (they have no US states in the Netherlands). Luckily they gave me a year's free access instead of fixing it :-)
Part three was when altavista didn't like it anymore and told mail.com that they would kill off email access to the altavista.net domain name (which they still owned). If you own the domain name, you control where the mail goes... So mail.com send me a two-week notice that my email address would be killed...
After that, I'm now firstname.lastname@example.org : I got my own domain name. For a while, you could still access your existing altavista.net mail at mail.com, but they're killing off accounts if they aren't used for a while (probably a year or so).
So: no more altavista.net mail addresses. (I was email@example.com by the way).
update 2004-07-22: Ouch, the title of the post was netscape.net instead of altavista.net... Sigh.
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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