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The Butler Did It (At Least in the UK)



Ask.com has welcomed back a familiar face across the pond as reported by Search Engine Land.ask logo Jeeves the regal butler of Ask Jeeves fame is back and he has some real depth this time. Well, he is a 3D character now so that’s as far as the depth thing goes.

The Internet’s most well known servant is appearing on the UK Ask home page and will there to assist.

The character will offer searchers additional search options, interact with the searcher on their query and more. When I asked for more specifics, Ask’s reply was, “you will want to wait and see.”

The first question ol’ Jeeves is answering is why he is back. Here’s what he had to say. Of course, he didn’t ‘speak’ unless asked which means he still has his manners.

I popped out three years ago to travel the world in a quest for knowledge and I’ve returned to Blighty armed with answers. During my sojourn research showed the public wanted me back, which I found jolly touching. And in that time the engineers toiled hard to make the site look better, work harder and be more personal…just like yours truly!

The return of the butler icon is in part a response to a poll that showed that even after a 3 year absence the Jeeves character had a greater brand recognition score than that of the Ask.com site itself in the UK. Makes sense that in order to make inroads in the search engine game you want to put your most recognizable foot forward.

So why hasn’t Jeeves shown up in the US? Well, the NASCAR crowd that Ask has been courting has little familiarity with the idea of a butler. Granted the NASCAR fan of today is far from the mobile home caricature of yesteryear but it is fair to say that they are still a considerable distance from the wine and cheese set.

In the US, rather than a formal butler Ask uses the traveling Ray family to ask some highbrow questions in their ads like “How do race car drivers go to the bathroom during a race?” and answers coming from the Ray family mom, who’s on the loo (hat tip to the UK), giving the “I think they just wet themselves” answer. Not exactly butler type material but amusing. Nicholas Graham, US Ask spokesperson talked about the very different approach used in marketing the engine here in the States.

Since the Rays have non-NASCAR questions in their lives, we’re also featuring them beyond so-called ‘race car programming’, on networks and programs that index well against the NASCAR fan audience like Sci Fi, USA and NHL on NBC. The campaign started in mid-February, and we’re on 18 different networks — including AMC, FX, National Geographic Channel, MLB Network, and NFL Network.”

The non-NASCAR questions include should you drink milk after the expiration date. You get the idea.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land predicts the return of Jeeves here in the US. Maybe we can help Ask out with an informal Pilgrim poll here. Do you want the butler back?

  • http://www.charlesneville.com Charles Neville

    I always think of Ask as Ask Jeeves anyway. I like that he’s coming back and I hope this gives them a decent boost in traffic.

    Charles Neville’s last blog post..Helping out your competition

  • http://www.alfredre.com Erica

    So… does this mean they’ll be making an American version of Jeeves with a sweaty wifebeater and a beer can in hand?

  • http://www.itslb.com Mike Gonzales

    Yes! Bring Jeeves back from across the pond. Ask just isn’t the same without Jeeves in the US.

    Or as my roomie from London says “Ask Jevus” (his slang for Jesus) Now, the right wing Christians might have something to say about that one! LOL