Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

I think this stinks. I have been hoping Ask could build it’s search into a competitive engine. Their interface was nice but we all know that’s not enough. I’m surprised they didn’t stick it out longer.
Comments30 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Ruud 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 2

The little search engine that could -- no more.A shame. Having left the Jeeves way of doing things only to try to return to them -- what a waste of money.That said, when you’re the only putting the actual money on the table I suspect this is a sane decision.

Avatar
from rustybrick 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 4

betrayed. 

Avatar
from EricLander 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It’s pathetic when the best search product can’t survive.  It’s not the fault of those involved with the search technology and interface, it’s the fault of those running the business side of things.Horrible, horrible news.I feel for Gary Price too, having just met him last week at SMX -- he seemed like a genuinely great guy who loved everything he did with Ask.

Avatar
from pratt 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

This is such a shocker, I really had hope for Ask. It seemed like they had such a good product, they just had to hang in there - but finances aren’t that forgiving.I wonder what made them decide that women medical issues was the way to go and would be more profitable.Such a shame.

Avatar
from ssmshari 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Too bad - I thought they had a chance at making something different out of search, but I will be happy to see the return of Jeeves - I liked that then, so I will probably like it now!

Avatar
from everett 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’ll say it again - Glad I sold my IACI stock at $30.

Avatar
from rustybrick 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

FYI, I keep adding updates to the story.

Avatar Moderator
from graywolf 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

man they had the best blended search shame to see that go ...

Avatar
from lorenbaker 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

they more or less invented blended search, or were the first to have the balls to implement it

Avatar
from NickWilsdon 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Very sad.

Avatar
from JohnWeb 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Whoever set up that ad campaign they did a while back should be the first to be let go.

Avatar
from northrock 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

if google ends up providing results for ask along with aol and ms/live grabs up yahoo we will be stuck with only 2 major players. in my opinion that really leaves a void where a new start-up with some charisma can make a run at the big boys. this engine will need a great product first then be able to spread naturally and virally through social means and word of mouth. should be interesting. i was hoping ask was the one but it’s not to be.

Avatar
from imnotadoctor 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think they never escaped the brand of "Ask Jeeves". It will be very interesting to see if they bring this brand back.

Avatar Moderator
from DavidWallace 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was really hoping that Ask would be the David that would slay Goliath (or at least make dent in Goliath’s armor).

Avatar
from jeffquipp 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

What a disappointment! Damn!

Avatar
from JohnWeb 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

None of the contenders err..pretenders including ask have ever made a case for being BETTER than Google, only different.  Different is great when you are selling jeans or flavored vodka but it has little to do with searching for something, people don’t want to spend time on the search engine they want to get to the results.  Ask’s goofy algorithm campaign never said it was better than Google, never showed why someone would want to use it instead of Google, just basicaly that it existed.  In the long run nobody cared because Google just gives the same if not better results so there is no reason to switch.  I don’t get why all these big brains and million dollar marketers cannot figure that out.  You can sell the sizzle, but you need the steak first.

Avatar
from rossdunn 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I am horrified. I had HIGH HOPES for Ask and I even spoke with Patrick at the SMX West conference to see if I could do ANYTHING to help Ask; be it feedback, promotion, whatever. This is more than just sad, it is a car wreck. What are they thinking? I guess business was far worse than ever expected but I had a lot of hope that Ask would stick it out until Microhoo screwed up and Ask could take more marketshare.

Avatar
from robertwright 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was just Twitterring about this with Barry Shwartz and he suggested I move my discussion here. So if Ask goes bye bye, what is to become of thier Direct Hit technology. I believe it has kept them afloat for years. And surely the big 3, whom the’ve leased the valuable click data too, do not want to lose access to it. My tests from only 10 months ago showed that click data was still being used in the search algos, at least at Google.Robert

Avatar
from swags2804 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Interestingly, Ask had actually overtaken Yahoo for search volume in the UK for the month of January: Hitwise UK - Leading Search EnginesThat dire advertising campaign must’ve had some effect. Obviously doesn’t mean a lot compared with Google’s monstrous share of the market.

Avatar
from Jeeb90 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It was nice that they had blended search and the most visually attractive interface, but I thought their algo was still behind Live’s and Google’s. I’m surprised at this news because I thought they were always saying that their TV commercials were working to increase their market share etc. etc.Instead of running TV campaigns, I think they should have spent money on being included by default as a search option in Firefox.  Would have been a better use of money.  Answers.com pretty much had its "career" made by doing that.

Avatar
from nicholasgraham 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Barry, its your friend Nicholas. I wanted to get with you on the story you posted. First, we haven’t killed anything...or anyone! There really, really - really! - is no truth to these rumors about Teoma getting taken out to the woodshed. At all. Second, we’re going to continue to be a great search engine delivering relevant core web search results - and much more. That’s the whole point - we’re going to do that, and give more focus and emhpasis to answers and to our core audience who comes to us loyally and often. Just like we know you do.Hope that helps - Nicholas Graham, Ask.com spokesperson

Avatar
from northrock 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

hmmm... has this story taken a sudden turn? barry can you confirm what nicholas had to say?

Avatar
from rustybrick 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I never said IAC said they are dumping the technology.<div></div><div>Honestly Nicholas, what else can you say?  I respect you but I added my personal thoughts.  </div><div></div><div>It is clear that Diller wants to focus on building out a search tool for women to ask questions on health and education, not to compete against Google.  </div>

Avatar
from DazzlinDonna 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I’m sure that since the title includes the phrase "Kills Search Engine", you can expect people to read that as you saying "they are dumping the technology". 

Avatar
from rustybrick 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yea, I feel this new "strategy" will kill the search engine.  don’t you all?

Avatar
from northrock 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

if they take the primary ask.com domain and truly target women that are 30+ and live in the midwest, yes, they are in effect killing ask.com as a general search engine. at most it can only be labeled a niche search engine.

Avatar
from goodroi 2368 Days ago #
Votes: -1

I take full credit for Ask going back to the "jeeves" model.    Thats right, FULL CREDIT.  This is a very proud day for the omnipotent Asksucks.com community.  We have been dedicated to honoring the memory of Jeeves and if possible to bring him back his frozen body.  It hasnt been easy with Ask storm troopers chasing us but it has been well worth it.  Our scientists are still working on unfreezing Jeeves but at least his style of answering questions is back.  All hail Jeeves. :)

Avatar
from Ruud 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@nicholasgraham What I read is that:1. Ask.com will shift its focus from being a general search engine to a phrase-based search engine2. Ask.com will stop focussing on the "digerati" (this focus entailed which strategies and search products?) and will start to focus on what it perceives as its core audience (again, which strategies, which search products?)These 2, to me, don’t jive with your "core web search results - and much more".But press is often wrong in its reporting and you’re on the "in". So, let me ask you... With IAC saying one thing will get less focus/money/attention and another will get more; what is the impact on the ask.com we know today? If it all continues the way it does, then this was a non-statement?@rustrybrick -- what you say is likely and in line with what I do suspect. But it’s not (yet) the story, no. In theory it remains possible to do one and the other; to continue developing stellar organic search and develop a Q&A engine.

Avatar
from ciaran 2368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@swags - I was about to comment on what this showed about their non-US commitment as I’d seen the figures from Hitwise as well which suggested that they were doing ok in the UK; it’s worth noting though that Hitwise clarified those figures a bit on a distliied post.The figures you link to are for searches made on each of the engines - so could simply be a sign that Yahoo & MSN do search better (as their users don’t have to make as many searches to find what they want); when you actually get to traffic (visits) it looks like this (according to Hitwise who are definitely not infallible):Google: 78.01% Microsoft: 4.74% Yahoo!: 3.82% Ask: 2.81%So, obviously miles off of Google, but not actually that far behind Yahoo & MSN. Obviously a little bit too far behind though (especially when you’re running someone else’s ads)

Avatar
from jonathansalembaskin 2367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I actually think the strategy makes perfect sense.  It was nonsense for Ask to compete for global domination of a search market that 1) may not exist in a few years, and b) it couldn’t win anyway.  Vertical, phrase-based, or other targeted search makes sense, especially if they can do it brilliantly and then go about ’owning’ it with branding, and my suspicion is that Safka and his team are busy reinventing this business in some very creative, targeted ways.  I riffed on some of the possibilities back in late January, and if you’d like to check it out, here’s the original post: http://dimbulb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/ask-has-the-ans.html

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: