Today, I want to take you through some interesting observations from a WebmasterWorld thread. Let me quote you one piece from Swanson, an old time WebmasterWorld member from 2004:
I have it on good authority that the change has been requested by Google so that Ask can maintain a good quality score for it's arbitrage on Adwords.
I know it sounds like conspiracy theory but seriously this is a VERY good source.
You do know that Ask.com gets a huge amount of traffic from arbitrage on Adwords - it is as big a player as Ebay. Take away arbitrage and Ask.com is as big as Mirago.
The change? Dropping the 'complexity' of the 3D interface and offering less information on the page. Why would Ask want to remove information from the page? Yes, they say to make it easier for their users. But the argument above is suggesting to get more clicks on the Google Ads and thus earn more money. Yes, nothing to do with providing a better search experience, but rather more about better monetizing the pseudo search engine.
We know Ask.com is more about monetization than experience these days, so this theory is far from far fetched, in my opinion. I know I have a stigma about Ask.com, ever since they tore the soul out of Ask.com and our community reacted, but someone in this 'press' arena needs to speak beyond Ask.com's press release.
Think about it.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.