Ask Jeeves: The Little Engine That Could

Dec 29, 2004 - 9:23 am 1 by
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Today I posted a thread in the Ask Jeeves forum at Search Engine Watch named The Little Engine That Could. I'll repost it here, but I would love it if you can provide feedback to your thoughts on the engine at the thread or here (preferably at the thread). Here is its:

For me, Ask Jeeves, is a search engine that has so much potential, that it kills me to see them sit back and follow the leaders.

But Ask has been through hard times, only to establish itself as Apple Computer of the search business. Chris Sherman was quoted in an article by Chris Gaither named Which Search Engine Firm Is Coming Back? as saying; "They have very small share, but it's a very dedicated group of people who use them."

Ask Jeeves' condition grew dire as rival Google rose to fame across the San Francisco Bay in Mountain View. After signing the 10-year, $80-million lease to move its rapidly expanding staff to Oakland, Ask Jeeves posted a loss of $189 million, laid off more than half its employees and paid $16 million to get out of the lease.

So when I asked in the Meet the Crawlers session in the Q & A session: Q: I asked Ask Jeeves why they bury the Teoma results way under the Google AdWords results at Ask Jeeves? A: Michael answered that is was not about not being more relevant, they feel Teoma is more relevant than AdWords. But it is set up that way from a monetization standspoint only. Fair answer.

The answer is because Google saved them from their financial distress, as the article says:

In 2002, Google and Ask Jeeves inked a three-year deal to place $100 million worth of ads on The two companies shared the money advertisers paid whenever people clicked on those ads, known as sponsored links. The alliance has since been extended to 2007.

With that money, they made some major advancements to Teoma.

Loyalty comes from what? Brand? Quality?

Can Ask Jeeves get beyond their current market share? Do they want to or are they happy with their current position?

This might come as a bold statement, but of the major search engines (Google and Yahoo, even MSN), Ask Jeeves plays the smallest role in communication with our industry (SEM). Yes they go to the conferences but it is the little things they miss. Yahoo and Google read the SEM blogs, participate (or better yet, read) the forums. Ask, I think does less in that way.

What will it take? Is it possible? Will it happen? Does it matter? :)


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