Ask.com announced very sad news yesterday, they are letting go 130 hard workers due to a change in their strategy. That change is they will no longer index the web and will focus on being a question and answer engine. They are closing down the Edison, N.J. and Hangzhou, China offices, where their web search teams are based.
Yes, over a hundred people are losing their jobs and it is also sad to see another player fall in the search space - but ultimately, I agree, this is the right move for Ask.com.
Doug at Ask.com wrote a pretty honest post at the Ask blog about this. I think it is worth a read and I appreciate his honesty.
To me, I am not surprised - I am sad, sad to see so many good people lose their jobs and sad to see a potentially good Google competitor go. But it is the right move. The story headlines found on Techmeme range from IAC's Barry Diller Surrenders to Google, Ends Ask.com's Search Effort and Ask.com Gives Up On Search, Hangs Its Hopes On Q&A. But Danny's title was much more soft, Ask.com To Focus On Q&A Search, End Web Crawling.
The only good thing I can see from this is that Jeeves might come back to the US? As you know, he has been back in the UK for a while now. So maybe he will return to the US, since the Ask.com strategy is no longer search. I hope so.
I am sad, but like I said, I felt Ask.com was dead for a long long time now. So it is good for them to move on and focus on things they can do right.