What’s Ahead for Ask.com?



I guess we’re all getting a little tired of writing about Google. Ask has been on the forefront of more than one person’s mind lately.

ask.com logo Jennifer Laycock asks whether Ask is On Fire, or Going Down in Flames? Good question. She points to Nielsen//NetRatings’ April results which show Google’s market share at 55.2%, up 48% over last year—and Ask’s market share at 1.8% and actually down 2.3% (or down half a percentage point) from last year.

Josh Catone on Read/WriteWeb asks whether Ask’s future should be search (riffing on Allen Stern of CenterNetwork’s plan to get Ask.com back on track). Josh suggests that they should focus on their advertising products instead. It’s not a bad idea.

After all, Google seems to be redesigning its self-image to portray itself as an advertising platform. Even if “Search, Ads and Apps” was bogus, in April Eric Schmidt told Wired to “Think of [Google] first as an advertising system. Then as an end-user system — Google Apps. A third way to think of Google is as a giant supercomputer. . . .” Should Ask.com follow suit?

Meanwhile, we’re starting to see the touted $100 million dollar Crispin Porter + Bogusky television commercials. So far, they’re not as bad as the plastic-headed king or zombie Orville Redenbacher (or any of the other ubermacho CPB stuff), but they’re not remarkable, either. Many people have pointed out that all the references to the algorithm are going to go over people’s heads (and if they don’t, many people won’t associate ‘the algorithm’ with Ask since many people opine that Google’s algorithm is still superior).

Haven’t seen them? Here’s one on YouTube (thanks for pointing me to the right place, MonkeySEO).

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    The problem is that Ask still seems to want to compete with Google and Yahoo. Back last summer, I sat down to dinner with other bloggers and some Ask.com guys. We shared ideas for helping Ask re-invent itself – Chris Pirillo had some great ideas for them – but there’s little sign they’re interested.

    Edgy ads aren’t going to cut it, you need to find a niche and fill it. Ask Mobile GPS is the most intriguing thing out of Ask in a while.

  • http://www.MonkeySEO.com MonkeySEO

    i completely agree that edgy ads aren’t going to help ask.com beat out google or yahoo. but am i the only one who thinks these commercials are hilarious? perhaps its the absurdity that amuses me.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Oh, they’re funny. Just like every other commercial, show and movie that uses the same gag.

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  • http://www.johnwellis.com/marketing-advice-for-askcom John W Ellis

    I believe Andy hit it on the head: “Ask still seems to want to compete with Google and Yahoo”. That idea needs to go.

    By trying to compete with Google, it becomes obvious to the consumer. That will just remind the consumer that Google is still #1. Ask.com needs to be its own system, unique.

    The commercials may be entertaining, but so what? That does not convert to revenue.

    And the algorithm advertising has got to go. Frankly, dare I say it; we don’t care as much about algorithms are even accurate results. Yes, it’s important but it’s not our top priority.

    http://www.johnwellis.com/marketing-advice-for-askcom/