Tormented ghost of Jeeves spotted in offices

The butler didn’t do it, and neither has The Algorithm — nothing that search site, nee Ask Jeeves, has tried over the years has helped it gain ground on Google or, for that matter, any other rivals. According to the latest Nielsen Online numbers on the search market, Google has a 56.9 percent share, trailed by Yahoo with 19 percent, Microsoft with 12.1 percent, and AOL with 4.7 percent. And then there’s Ask, solidly entrenched at No. 5 with 2.4 percent. Ask is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, and while Diller has been a fan of the technology, there are signs his patience may be at an end.

Valleywag, Silicon Alley Insider and PaidContent all have sources telling them that layoffs and a broad shakeup are in the offing, with SAI’s source saying the changes could go as far as dropping the vaunted Teoma search technology and letting Google handle things. Said the source, “There is indeed a big shakeup coming. A new Ask. Some think a reduction in workforce is likely. There are no sacred cows, Teoma may be sold or simply abandoned which is hundreds of engineers who work on the core search engine, in place of just using Google’s search with our special brand of user interface.” Engineers, start your résumés.


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  • Unindicted Co-conspirator

    Last year, Ask spent a lot of money, got itself a lot of PR for its TV ad campaign to get people to abandon Google for Ask.
    The first ad show a bunch of women dancing with swords & had a guy using Ask to find out stuff about them.

    So, I went to, put the phrase used in the ad into Ask, I think it was women dancing with swords, & guess what?
    I got back mostly garbage!
    So Ask, couldn’t even properly search for its own ad campaign.
    Plus, if Google had done the same thing, they would have had a little fun with the term & probably put up some idiotic video that they made up.

    So, for me, I’ll continue to ask Google!

  • Jon

    For Barry Diller

    Ask Jeeves is a concept.

    New Concepts need the handful of people out there who have the brainstorm.

    If you try to hire them, you might get lucky.

    Doubt it.

    Barry, may I humbly suggest you need to open this up?

    Folks who have the ideas or will come up with them that will make this “Better than Google” idea work need

    1. The opportunity (your web vehicle)
    2. Incentive (recognition, use, enrichment)

    Genius is simplicity not magic.

    Jon Alan Gammon

  • Just check your analytics tools and see the real traffic numbers. We manage 14 websites for clients. In general, it’s 90% Google, 6% Yahoo, and 3% Microsoft. Don’t listen to the Nielsen numbers. Check it yourself and see.