Ask’s Marketing Missteps?



As a follow up to his story yesterday, Barry Schwartz asked around and discovered that 74% of Diggers Thought Ask.com’s Campaign was Google’s Campaign. Ouch. It’s understandable. Google owns the word ‘algorithm’ in the public mind. And isn’t Ask.com’s slogan “Chicks with swords”?

Speaking of “Chicks with swords,” after some more thought on the matter, I really think Ask.com should have just gone in and manually made that SERP better. I really don’t care how strong or weak their algorithm is (and really, neither does 90% of the general public), if they’re going to advertise with that query, that result page had better rock. And it doesn’t. It just doesn’t.

In fact, our post on the commercial is ranked #6 for the term. Above us? Technorati’s “Chicks with swords” tag page. (That’s nothin’: we’re #3 on Yahoo and #1 on Google. And yes, I check with Safesearch and Personalized search off.)

Somehow, I just don’t think that guy searching for “chicks with swords” is gonna find what he’s looking for on Marketing Pilgrim. Unless he wanted to watch himself in the commercial.

One thing that they clearly did change manually on that SERP is under the ‘Expand Your Search’ header. The first suggestion? “Babes with Blades.” Interestingly enough, that just happens to be the website that provided many of the images in Ask’s commercial (ref).

I wonder if that counts as a paid link.

  • http://www.emergence-media.com Daniel R

    “74% of Diggers Thought Ask.com’s Campaign was Google’s Campaign…Google owns the word ‘algorithm’ in the public mind.”

    I would take that thinking with caution:
    “Diggers” arent regular Internet users (yet) and I’m also hesitate to think that the regular Internet user associates algorithm with Google so easily.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Yes, Diggers aren’t regular Internet users. I assume you’re arguing that they’re more savvy than the regular Internet user. That’s kind of the point. If even Diggers, who are deeply ambivalent about Google, immediately associate the campaigns with Google, how much more so will regular users?

  • Melvin

    I see what Daniel is saying – Diggers are tech savvy, meaning that they have more of an opinion on technical words that the regular internet user, who would see the word algorithm and simply not associate with anything. As opposed to Diggers, who know all about Google and algoriths, so make the automatic (wrong) assumption.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    True, but if the tech savvy aren’t getting it then it’s likely the rest of the population isn’t connecting algorithm and Ask either. And in all honesty is algorithm the word they want to go after to get the general public to adopt Ask. Probably not.

    The use of the word algorithm sort of implies they are going after the tech savvy crowd and the stats about diggers show Ask is failing.

    Ask has such a great name I don’t know why they don’t take more advantage of it. It’s such a natural word to use to promote a search engine, but none of their advertising ever tries to capitalize on their name.