Ask.Com, Will $100 Mn Save The Company?

May 23, 2007 | 3,359 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Ask.com currently ranks #4 in terms of Search Engine usage in the US alone with a total of 3.69% users. Ask follows MSN (8.46%), Yahoo! with 20.73% and Google with a staggering 65%.

Jennifer Laycock at Search Engine Guide asks whether Ask is on Fire, or Going Down in Flames. An answer of sorts is available at Tech Crunch, “If a tree falls down in the woods and no one is around to hear it- does it make a sound can be equally applied to Ask: if a search engine does a viral marketing campaign and no one understands it, does it make a difference?”.

Of late, fans and Ask loyalists often wondered how to Improve Ask.com. In response, Allan Stern writes, "What would I focus on if I was Strategy VP for Ask? Funny you should Ask (har har). While I can't share all of my thoughts, here are some thought starters:

1. Push hard to get site publishers to integrate the Ask engine, even offering cash for the swap. I would certainly change some of my sites to use Ask if they came calling. This is the way to begin the movement, not with stupid billboards.

2. Look at the data and privacy issues Google is facing and attempt to leverage those

3. Focus on owning categories… I have played a bit with their Kids search and I like it. This is an area Google does not have. Why not attempt to own this market?

4. Work with bloggers in the tech sector, invite them to visit and learn more about Ask and spread the word. Don't be afraid of the negative reviews. Remember people like the "Google Feeling". I don't see Ask trying to create a "feeling".

Use the Ask local tool and create local parties that can demo the Ask suite of tools. Remember it's about a feeling. No one cares about the results.”

However, Josh Catone at ReadWriteWeb feels the best way to hurt Google is through Text Ads, “Text ads make up most of Google's revenue stream, and according to their most recent financial statement, text ads served via Adsense on third-party sites made up a whopping 37% of their total $3.66 billion revenues for the quarter.”

In an article called “The Algorithm is tweaking”, the writer says “The slogan – The Algorithm constantly finds Jesus — makes no sense at all. The Algorithm should find a new ad Agency. What's with the "constantly"?”. Also, another thread at Tech Crunch writes, "I think that even with the 3 digit URL, dropping Jeeves was a mistake. Their little mascot was the only thing they had that “branded” them, which was a major accomplishment in search back then. Just because your model: ask a question, get an answer – seems simple doesn’t mean it’s bad. This mornings frontpage is downright blinding. I went to ask.com to take a gander and immediately turned away. Nice idea. Terrible result"

To be fair to Ask.com, of late it has been taking giant leaps pushing everything they have. Beginning with going on a spending spree, launching a GPS-powered Mobile Application, and their most optimistic venture yet, the Edison Algorithm.

Mukesh at Tech Crunch gives his suggestions to Ask.com, "Suggestion to ASK: Instead of wasting money advertising a crap service, spend some improving it. Get your crawlers to do extra job crawling more of the internet than Google. One reason Google is on top is it’s ability to crawl and index more of the web quickly. Most internet users now a days own a website and for them getting indexed is a matter of fame. They will certainly stick to engines that index their site faster rather than playing untouchables. Ask has got to worst crawler and it’s crawlers never index new sites unless until they are a good 1 or 2 years old. Simple reason they don’t send enough traffic to websites. Webmasters hate Ask cause of poor indexing, Surfers hate Ask cause of poor indexing. 30% surfers are going to be webmasters of tomorrow as technology developers. In the future owning a website is going to be mandatory and may be even an identity as a world citizen. Given this, search engines better start increasing their database and start indexing more.

More Index, Faster Index = More customers. So ASK, go ASK your Algo team to do a better job."

4.thumbnail Ask.Com, Will $100 Mn Save The Company?

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Ask.Com, Will $100 Mn Save The Company?
4.thumbnail Ask.Com, Will $100 Mn Save The Company?