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Is Out of the Search Engine Race?

I hate to say this, but does anyone still care about

I say this as someone that once loved, 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 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 searchers a selection of options and resources they can use to take action.’s unique Q&A results also are injected and blended into standard web search results pages.’s Answer to Why the Sky is Blue & Other Questions we Ask

Want to know what we as a group think about, worry about, and are curious about? gives insight by naming the top searches of the year. 2008 was a year of worries about gas prices and the economy. We sought out deals on vacations, used cars, and cheap apartments., the 7th largest search engine in the US gets 70 million unique monthly searches, according to comScore Media Metrix (Oct. 2008). Last year we had different things on our minds, and the categories of queries has changed. Still, the #1 search last year for politicians during the primaries is now president elect Barack Obama.

The famous celebrity moms who captured our attention was a pregnant Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, a young and pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears, and a perky politician most of us hadn’t heard of until this year: Sarah Palin. Will “Continue to be a Great Search Engine”

ask logoA few headlines have popped up today with the good news. I spoke with spokesman and VP Nicholas Graham in a personal interview today to clarify Ask’s announcement earlier this week.

The idea that we’re going to become a ‘women’s site’ is not correct,” says Graham. Ask says that the original AP report had an erroneous headline, and it’s pretty much been downhill from there.

But the reality is that:

what we’ve found from our research is that there’s a sizeable group of our core user base that is women. This core audience comes for certain types of searches, certain categories—reference (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.), health and entertainment. Our new strategy is to focus on building up our ability to render good answers in those categories for our core audience.

Ask and Ask Again. You’ll Probably Get the Same Old Answer

ask logoWell, it must be that time of year. You know when the leaves change colors and Ask changes their design? At some point they have to settle on something. They are actually starting to act like your “different” cousin who shows up at family functions with a new body piercing and a bad attitude just for shock value. You pay attention for a minute then you realize that it’s actually really sad that she doesn’t get it. is starting to feel that way in the realm of search engines. Once full of promise and ready to take on the big boys of search (which is now just one big boy and Ask partners with them anyway; dare to guess who?) they are now becoming a bit of a search sideshow. In today’s WSJ we learn that a new and improved is on the horizon (see screenshot). There are two points that are interesting here. First is Barry Diller’s spin on this redesign:’s Jim Lanzone Reveals Plans for Search Engine’s Future

ZDNet’s Donna Bogatin has an interesting interview up with CEO, Jim Lanzone. She asks some probing questions, and Jim shares some interesting morsels.

On switching users to the new AskX environment…

The AskX website is a testing ground for what the next generation of could be. is the sandbox area and slowly but surely will be migrated over to everyday users starting at some point in this quarter, but we have a lot of testing to do still. AskX is the potential future interface of or potential future experience for

On exploring paid search partners outside of Google… Ads: Confirmed as Creepy

You already know that’s latest round of “I got what I was looking for” TV commercials are not what I was looking for. But I’m not the only one. In today’s Ad Report Card column on Slate, “Ads we hate,” featured the ad that I hate. First, a sample of the hate mail for’s campaign:

In the new TV ads for the search engine, a man (along with a chorus of women) sings that “he found just what he was looking for.” What he was looking for turns out to be “chicks with swords.” While it’s vaguely disturbing that is celebrating in song that this guy successfully found masturbatory material online, I am truly creeped out by his smile a few seconds into the song. It looks like his search on would actually be “how to cook and eat chicks with swords.”
—M.M. Expands Semantic Search Technology

By Peter Young

Given the recent improvements announced by Google it should come as no surprise that another search engine has recently announced a raft of improvements to their search experience. This time it’s who have announced a number of advances to their semantic search technology.

With semantic search one of the key search battlegrounds over the next couple of years, Ask introduced a couple of new semantic technologies namely DADS(SM) (Direct Answers from Databases), DAFS(SM) (Direct Answers from Search), and AnswerFarm(SM) aimed at breaking new ground in the areas of semantic, web text and answer farm search back in October 2008.

According to Erik Collier, vice president of product management at Ask, the Ask technology is unique because it enables web surfers to type real questions, instead of a series of keywords. When interviewed by TechNewsWorld back in June 2008, he went on to say