Gary Price at Search Engine Watch pointed me to this Financial Times article named IAC to revamp Ask Jeeves website. Basically, what is happening are:
(1) Ask Jeeves search engine to show fewer paid links (2) Increase the amount of direct advertising (3) Improve the search function in consumer categories such as concert tickets.
Number one in that list is huge. I had the privilege to speak with Jim Lanzone of Ask Jeeves about this. First he told me that they will be sponsoring the party Monday night at SES, and the band that was in the movie Old School will be playing. Then we got into the convo about this topic. Here are some of my notes...
- Ask always wanted to drop most of the ads. It hurt him and the company to see Ask's name get trashed in forums due to those ads. (not direct quotes) - They had lots of obligations to stake-holders (mostly stockholders) and simply couldn't drop a major source of revenue. - During this time, they developed lots of innovative products. - But they knew they needed to balance the ads and organic results. - When Barry (IAC) came on board, Barry wanted to focus on this product (ask) long term - IAC understood organic results was the way to go, they have studies that show more users come back when they use the ask organic results. And they know the PPC ads were keeping users away. - This is a no brainer, and they know in the long term it will pay off. - In 2002, Ask was one of the first to drop banner ads - But as Google became a larger part of Ask's business, they had to keep adding more ppc ads.
And now we are here, IAC, no more overwhelming ads, starting tomorrow!