Ask.com, which was previously known as Ask Jeeves, had restarted their Question & Answer service in July. They will now concentrate solely on this and shut down their search service.
When Ask.com was first founded in 1996 it was called Ask Jeeves and they were the first search engine to offer a Q & A format. However, after seeing the success that Google enjoyed with their algorithmic search service, Ask Jeeves chose to follow suit and soon rebranded to Ask.com.
After years of trying to compete with Google, Yahoo! and more recently with Microsoft, in late July 2010, Ask.com decided to restart the Q & A service, alongside their algorithmic search engine. They have now decided to focus their resources exclusively on the Q & A service. Google or Bing will now be used to power searches on Ask.com.
Rumours of a possible acquisition by Microsoft had circulated online last year. However, nothing came of that, and neither Yahoo! nor Microsoft formed any alliance with Ask Jeeves. Google continues to supply sponsored link advertising in addition to Ask.com’s own advertising programme.
Ask.com’s President Doug Leeds says, “This is the best use of our scarce resources.” In the past, Ask.com used to serve close to 2 million users a day. But in spite of their advanced features that provided a seamless search experience, they could not continue to compete with Google, which holds about 65% of the market share in the USA and over 90% in Europe.
In effect, they will be shutting down their offices in Edison, NJ and Hang Zhou China. Some of the staff from those offices will be asked to relocate to the Bay Area headquarters. About 130 employees are expected to lose their jobs.