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Ask Not What Women Want

By - March 05, 2008

Or, Ask is asking. Let me give you my first take on this news: Whaaaaaaaaaa?

SAN FRANCISCO – In a dramatic about-face, Ask.com is abandoning its effort to outshine Internet search leader Google Inc. and will instead focus on a narrower market consisting of married women looking for help managing their lives.

As part of the new direction outlined Tuesday, Ask will lay off about 40 employees, or 8 percent of its work force.

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  • http://craziestgadgets.com CraziestGadgets.com

    Ask is sort of like the wiki of search. Simple informative answers to simple questions. Which is exactly how they should be branding themselves. IAC, you can paypal me the $100,000 consulting fee right now- thanks.

  • saran

    This is good and bad.

    Good – because small players should go with vertical search. It’s a marathon race, small players (in terms of market share) may not able to run for long. Ex: Netscape.

    Bad – because no real competition from yahoo/Microsoft.

  • http://womens.it nmw

    Abandoning hope re “one-size fits-all” search is a good idea! :)

    And I think women do tend to “ask” (and LISTEN to answers) more than men do, so perhaps that might be a good “niche” to focus on(?) Also Ms. Li has some interesting ideas in the article too — but one has to wonder why ask.com would be in a better position to deliver answers than (e.g.) baby.com or pregnancy.com (or whatever).

  • Abe

    Echoing nmw, the girl I live with asks Google questions all the time. While searching for a vacation spot earlier this year, I would google “‘us virgin islands’ passport requirements ‘us citizen’”. She would enter ‘Do I need to have a valid passport to go to the us virgin islands if I am a US citizen?’

  • coelho

    Wonder if they dust off Jeeves and his platter as part of the retro-branding.

  • http://my.opera.com/coxy/ coxy

    “‘No matter what (Ask) did, it just wasn’t enough to get people to leave Google,’ said Chris Winfield, who runs a search engine consulting firm, 10e20.”

    Surely they haven’t given this enough time? I like Ask as it is right now and didn’t when it was Jeeves and question-based.

    This is a bad move as far as I’m concerned.