Ask.com Crosses The Line: Frames Search Results

Feb 27, 2009 • 4:01 pm | comments (24) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Ask.com - Ask Jeeves
 

Ask.com has gone too far. I have given them a lot of negative attention recently but they deserve it all. They are now framing the landing page of the search results. Let me rephrase that... If you search at Ask.com, click on a listing, Ask.com will put the result in a frame, below their search results.

Here is a picture, notice the bar at the top:

Ask.com Framing Results

Want to see it for yourself? Go to this URL to see.

At the top right, there is a little "X" icon that allows you to hide the bar and even "never show again." Here is a picture:

Ask Framed Results

This is just so wrong and I am surprised I missed Pandia's coverage of this news on the 14th.

Searchers are not happy about this at WebmasterWorld. Robzilla said, "this annoys me as both a user and a webmaster, and overall just seems a little desperate." Senior member, skipfactor, accurately points out that the search ads are not framed in.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: February 27, 2009
 

Comments:

Wes Linda

02/27/2009 09:03 pm

I can understand the view, but with so many people not finding the right result the first time, it makes it easier for them to refine their search without clicking back and forth.

M.-J. Taylor

02/27/2009 09:04 pm

I don't use ASK, anyway, but here's another reason. Frames are offensive when used like this. It sounds like a death knell;they wouldn't do this if they weren't scared.

Winooski

02/27/2009 09:37 pm

Wow. At first I didn't get what you meant, i.e., I assumed they were only using the frame as a static navbar for the duration of a user session, then escaping the frame upon clicking out of the site. *Now* I see. If trying to brand themselves as a search engine for women (remember that?) was jumping the shark, this is Henry Winkler trying to do a new version of "Happy Days". Sadder than sad.

Sam Malone

02/27/2009 10:27 pm

I agree with Wes; think this could is pretty helpful to users that don't click the result they want the first time around. I don't think it is that intrusive to the user either; especially because it allows them to hide it permanently.

Rik

02/28/2009 10:01 am

To Wes and Sam: All browsers already have this helpful feature - it's called the Back button.

Jeff

02/28/2009 03:30 pm

I do not see why this is so bad. It targets a specific group of people who actually might like that feature. Remember, search engines are not about "webmasters" search engines are about users!

tonyp

03/01/2009 12:32 am

So I take it you've never used Google image search, then? I don't see what the big deal is.

Allen Stern

03/01/2009 12:34 am

hey rustyone - they have to pay for that big nascar sponsorship somehow :-P

No Name

03/01/2009 01:57 am

Yeah, a company that has a big building in the middle of Oakland, 400 some employees and recently started sponsoring a NASCAR ask.com car, and runs commericals during primetime, oh and right has revenue in the billions each year is 'desperate.' Pleaes.

No Name

03/01/2009 01:58 am

And by pleaes I mean please.

Danny Sullivan

03/01/2009 02:05 am

Just Ask getting back to its roots, I guess. For the first few years of its existence, it framed results. It was annoying then and a relief when they dropped it. It remains annoying now and a bad move if they're really trying to win new users.

Barry Schwartz

03/01/2009 02:50 am

No Name, I know a heck of a lot about Ask.com. Them using frames and the way they are doing it is to simply generate more queries.

Faramarz

03/01/2009 03:50 am

Wow! I just had dejavu moment from 1995. This is totally an early web practice. they want to carry on their brand and access to every page you visit, unless you opt out. Frankly, it's a dirty move. it means if anybody decides to bookmark/favorite the landing page, you bookmarking the ask.com frame, not the really contents url. This is terrible. what kind of executive would allow this?!

nano

03/01/2009 02:08 pm

This is soo askjeeves.com / 90's

Rob Abdul

03/01/2009 03:18 pm

All this talk about Ask has given them the PR they so need.

Jose Sandoval

03/01/2009 05:23 pm

I thought most sites have this: <body onLoad="if (self != top) top.location = self.location"> Problem fix.

Ask_Dont_Tell

03/01/2009 07:04 pm

Unfortunately all the good guys have left. They have the losers they have promoted and losers they kept on. Check out their staff now.

Matt

03/01/2009 09:42 pm

@Faramarz "What kind of executive would allow this?" Try Jim Safka, head of Ask. Guy is slimy and doesn't have a product bone in his body. King of evil tricks (like this) and dumb gimmicky marketing. More to come, I'm sure.

Gerry White

03/02/2009 10:42 am

I think the most depressing thing about this, is that Ask I believed would come out as a contender to the Google Monopoly, I just wish for one alternative to the big G who I could, would use on a daily basis.

Al

03/02/2009 01:00 pm

I suspect that if Ask had a decent service of its own and wasn't <a href="http://ifdebug.com/articles/askcom-deceptive-advertising-practices-is-a-grab-for-cash/" rel="nofollow">deceptively advertising and participating in arbitrage</a>, maybe they'd get users on their own merit and wouldn't need to frame results. Maybe it's time to dust off your favourite frame busting JavaScript?

No Name

03/02/2009 06:14 pm

Its a shame that they use this kind of tactic. They're getting pretty desperate...

Nicholas Graham

03/02/2009 10:50 pm

Fellow searchers: This is a feature that we've been testing, and continue to test. Much of the early feedback has been positive, as users told us they found it helpful to their search experience - such as significantly reducing the number of clicks required in the typical web session to get results and answers. Since we know some users may want to disable this feature, we included a very accessible removal option. We are, based on ongoing consumer feedback, also releasing a new version Tuesday that further enhances and optimizes this offering: the 'close' button is more accessible, there is a link to 'close' this feature permanently, and the URLs are more visible and clickable to the searcher. We'll continue to work on this and improve it, based on the input we get - and that's why your thoughts above are helpful and appreciated by us at Ask. - Nicholas Graham, spokesperson, Ask.com

Drenzul

03/09/2009 11:26 am

Lol - Really Nicholas..... I can see 'non computer literate' people just getting confused by this very easily and more computer literate people just getting annoyed by it. I don't see who this helps other than Ask, and even then its more likely to be a short term thing. Framesets should be used as a LAST resort only on a few pages where there is no other option. This isn't one of those cases. If everyone else started using framesets like this then you'd be screwed since you can't crawl them easily. I'd check who is giving you this 'on-going customer feedback' as if its coming from your internal testing my guess would be you've hired a bunch of yes men instead of people acctualy doing their job.

No Name

08/26/2009 03:59 pm

Now digg.com is doing the same crap! Losers! Can't we start suing them for changing our site?

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