Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Is Ask.com Out of the Search Engine Race?

I hate to say this, but does anyone still care about Ask.com?

I say this as someone that once loved Ask.com, but–having watched it change ownership and leadership–now feels like its best days are behind it.

Of course, I’m just one person and enough people still use Ask.com that the search engine has unveiled a database of 300 million Q&A pairs for searchers in the US and UK.

The result is a Q&A database that is fine-tuned to give consumers the best answer, the first time, every time through streamlined, localized, concise results to their questions. For example, the question "How do I train a puppy?" yields in-depth answers with step-by-step instructions from a series of diverse and authoritative sources across the web – giving Ask.com searchers a selection of options and resources they can use to take action. Ask.com’s unique Q&A results also are injected and blended into standard web search results pages.

Of course, Ask.com used to be the place where you went, when you wanted a precise answer. Then it tried too hard to be like Google, and now, it’s back to being a Q&A site just as every other search engine is focused on bringing you defined answers in your search results.

What do you think about Ask.com? Do you think about Ask.com?

  • http://www.twitter.com/alfox Al

    Always thought Ask was very poor. From day one. Always thought it was the place that newbies using AOL would “discover” and love. ;-)

    On the topic of search I’d love to know what people think about Symplyfy? (mainly for UK users btw).

    Symplyfy enables users to conduct searches via nineteen specific preset categories including news, blogs, books, jobs, images, bookmarks, videos, people, reviews, etc. with the same single search query. Results are delivered from different search engines and resource sites. BTW Remember to tab through to find the results for each search engine.

  • http://www.SEOConsultants.com/ pageoneresults

    I wouldn’t ignore the 2nd and 3rd tier search engines such as Ask.com. The Internet is too BIG for 1 SE or even just 3. Ask have some pretty good gigs going on that appear to keep their heads above water. I know they have a thing going with The History Channel as I see the search box appear throughout shows. They are also active in local events such as NASCAR. Does Google sponsor a race driver?

    “Ask becomes the Official Search Engine of NASCAR, with category exclusivity and a broad set of promotional rights in order to reach the sport’s estimated 75 million loyal fans.”

    http://www.NASCAR.com/2009/news/headlines/cup/01/14/ask.com.partnerships/

    Yes, I think about Ask every time I view statistics and see them in the top 10 sources of traffic. Just like I think about Yahoo! and Bing. Let’s face it, Google IS Search. They occupy the entire first tier. They have no equal. The spread between Google and then next 3 combined is so great that they appear to be untouchable in the area of search. So, that leaves the 2nd and 3rd tier providers and there are quite a few. I surely would not be overlooking Ask.com at this point. Especially since they still have a 3.8 marketshare according to Hitwise as of 2009 May 30.

    pageoneresults’s last blog post..Please Retweet This – Twitter Retweets

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

    @pageoneresults – but would you include Ask alongside Bing and Yahoo? The latter have a better chance of challenging Google, IMHO.

  • http://www.vitamincm.com Christopher Masiello

    I think that they need to go the Yahoo route. Just leverage the other little pieces that they have picked up along the way to become more of a portal or mini-web operating system.
    What are they going to do to steal away any market share from Google? Not much.
    If Yahoo and Microsoft combined barely make a dent what hope do they have? Not much.
    Too bad, I liked them a few years ago.

    Christopher Masiello’s last blog post..Music Services with the Best Third Party Integration

  • http://www.adityaseo.com Aditya

    Were they in the compition at any time?

    There services were not so good. I think confused.com is better than them. There is a bleak future for ask.com for sure.

    Aditya’s last blog post..How to check for No-Follow and Do-Follow blog

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    Both Quantcast and Compete estimate that Ask has nearly doubled its traffic over the past year, Andy.

    So the available data suggest that MANY people still care about Ask — more now than in a long time.

  • http://www.SEOConsultants.com/ pageoneresults

    “But would you include Ask alongside Bing and Yahoo?”

    No. I’d categorize Ask in the 3rd Tier. Bing and Yahoo! are now jockeying for solid positions in the 2nd Tier, just the two of them. There is no one else on the radar at the moment, not from a search perspective anyway. It’s just the 4 of them in this order; 1st Tier: Google, Second Tier: Yahoo!, Bing (or Bing, Yahoo!), 3rd Tier: Ask

    Have you seen the current buzz amongst industry veterans? Many are promoting Bing heavily. I remember when that happened to Google in 1998. Ask had that opportunity but I think they missed it. They’ve secured that 3rd Tier position which could be easily surpassed by the right newcomer. That last spot is volatile especially when it represents “only” 3.8 percent of the market.

    Hey, if you have a website that appeals to the Ask audience, the traffic converts. Ask that @fantomaster character (http://Twuna.com/Fantomask ), he’ll tell ya. :)

    pageoneresults’s last blog post..Please Retweet This – Twitter Retweets

  • Dean

    Q: β€œIs Ask.com Out of the Search Engine Race?”
    A: “When were they ever in the Search Engine Race?”

    Search is:
    1st tier: Google
    2nd tier: Microsoft / Yahoo – and not because they are in the race, but because they have the wherewithal to at least remain relevant
    3rd tier: A bunch of “incubators” testing out new features and functionality for Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to adopt should they look interesting.

    The only question in my mind is what happens if Google ever achieves monopoly status – now that would be interesting.

    oh and I can’t ignore ‘pageoneresults’ post:
    “I surely would not be overlooking Ask.com at this point.” “I know they have a thing going with The History Channel as I see the search box appear throughout shows. They are also active in local events such as NASCAR.”

    You’re kidding me right? History Channel and NASCAR??? You do understand that “Ask becomes the Official Search Engine of NASCAR…” is marketing speak for Ask pays NASCAR a sh*tload of cash to get their logo shown during the “My Car Only Turns Left 500″ It’s vanity window dressing and doesn’t even begin to nudge the marketshare needle IMHO.

  • John

    At one point, after they bought search engine Teoma, Ask delivered more relevant results than Google. They could’ve been a contender. Maybe if they had had Microsoft’s advertising budget and actually made some compelling commercials instead of the lame ones they did make.

  • http://www.free-speed-reading.com/ Robert

    Ask looks like an A+ search engine with their new upgrade, but unfortunately, they haven’t seemed to make any changes to their ranking algorithm since 1999. They put all their eggs in the keyworded domain name basket, which means a lot of off-topic results.

  • http://www.magnetmaterialyl.com/ Magnet Material

    What happens if Google ever achieves monopoly status – now that would be interesting.

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