Ask.com gives up on search market, focuses on Q&A

By on November 10, 2010, 10:00 AM
Ask.com is giving up on search to focus on its Q&A business, admitting that it can't catch up to leaders like Google and Microsoft's Bing. It's estimated that the site currently has somewhere between 2 and 4 percent share of the U.S. online search market. Ask.com says it will still offer a search option. However, like Yahoo, which outsourced its search technology to Microsoft, Ask.com will stop working on its own algorithm and instead hire an unnamed third-party.

By reverting to a Q&A approach, much like the original 'Ask Jeeves' service, the company believes it can differentiate enough from competitors and deliver better on its mission of answering questions that users ask in natural, everyday English. To do that the company already launched an "ask the community" program back in July in which answers are provided by a panel of individual users as well as through links to other websites.

The company plans to consolidate its engineering resources at its Bay Area headquarters, and in the process, around 130 people will lose their jobs while a few are being asked to relocate. Itís an unfortunate but necessary move for developing a more focused, cohesive strategy. Ask.com may be small compared to Google but they are still the sixth-largest web property according to Compete and draws more than 70 million unique visitors a month.




User Comments: 20

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Cryptopsy said:

Google is the wall-mart of the search engine :P It takes all the market

Guest said:

now its time to celebrate for all the ppl like me, that hates their annoying toolbar and ugly practice to replace the default search engine

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

See ya Ask.com, was nice knowing you.

Guest said:

will they give up from getting installed by random programs?

zogo said:

Actually they are pretty good at their Q&A business. Obviously they know what's their strong side so it's a smart strategy focusing on it.

Jibberish18 said:

I was actually using ASK.com for a while. I really liked it. It was always trying to differentiate itself. I stopped because it did something to piss me off. Added some feature that felt like bloatware. Wikipedia shows that they seem to make good $.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Ah, Ask Jeeves...that brings me back. I think I was using dogpile at the time before Google came on the scene.

ryan29121 said:

Ask.com sucks anyways. I get so annoyed how so many programs want to install ask.com toolbar. Im surprised they stuck around this long.

treetops treetops said:

thats what happens when a program tries to shove its toolbar down my our throats from every other program we download

buttus said:

At least this is one example of a company just bitting the bullet and admitting the truth. Yahoo SHOULD have done that years earlier themselves which is why they have faded so very badly. Always market to your strengths.

KG363 KG363 said:

I haven't used Ask Jeeves since i was in elementary school

Puiu Puiu said:

it has 2-4 % because it installs with a lot of free software which always annoys people who don't kwon how to uninstall them.

gayfish said:

funny --only people using ask.com would be who were too lazy to deselect ask.com toolbar bundled in all kind of software..

limpangel limpangel said:

Oh man, people ranting about the Ask toolbar. Can't you realize that was probably just one of the few revenue sources they had. It seems it wasn't enough to keep the search engine alive.

Think about the free software you are using. With Ask out of the equation they might have to charge you for the software.

I didn't see this many people complaining when Adobe was installing the Google toolbar with every Flash Player download. Last time I checked over 90% of the PC users have Flash installed, that is more than any free Ask sponsored software will ever be able to cover.

And speaking of Google, when I installed Chrome it automatically installed a plug-in in Firefox (God knows why) called Google Update. Have you ever tried to remove it from Firefox? I removed all the necessary files, edited the registry, it was gone until I updated Chrome when it reappeared. I couldn't find any permanent solution to remove it.

poertner_1274 poertner_1274, secroF laicepS topShceT, said:

I've always been annoyed by their toolbar as well, but seriously, you just hit DON'T INSTALL.

I've never personally used Ask.com, so I'm not sure what I'm going to miss..

xcelofjkl said:

Google simply gobbling up the competition.

fritz123 said:

google is getting all the users. i even used ask.com before too. but it has all those toolbar installs. so i used google instead. i dont think many people still rely on ask.com so maybe this move was the way to go. as if they could catch up with google anyway.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Oh man, people ranting about the Ask toolbar. Can't you realize that was probably just one of the few revenue sources they had. It seems it wasn't enough to keep the search engine alive.

Think about the free software you are using. With Ask out of the equation they might have to charge you for the software.

I didn't see this many people complaining when Adobe was installing the Google toolbar with every Flash Player download. Last time I checked over 90% of the PC users have Flash installed, that is more than any free Ask sponsored software will ever be able to cover.

And speaking of Google, when I installed Chrome it automatically installed a plug-in in Firefox (God knows why) called Google Update. Have you ever tried to remove it from Firefox? I removed all the necessary files, edited the registry, it was gone until I updated Chrome when it reappeared. I couldn't find any permanent solution to remove it.

Uninstall Chrome. Did you really think that Chrome was free software? I suppose it is, if you don't count Google's nose being up your a**. Everything Google gives you, has"Google Update.exe" as the door prize.

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