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ASK vs. Google: ASK, the Little Engine That Could
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I just came across a great post by Donna Bogatin over at ZDNet. In the post she mentions that IAC is looking to spend $100 million to promote ASK.com this year. Donna's post is entitled "Ask vs. Google: Can $100 million buy IAC search happiness?" The fact that ASK.com aspires to be Google is great because aspiration leads to innovation.

ASK has quietly been acquiring and releasing a tremendous array of tools all along keeping the user's interest at heart. I believe that the team at ASK are sincerely looking to provide the best user experience and it shows. Their ASK X offering returns a great results page unlike the traditional and dare I say boring results page offered by Google. ASK continues to release new services with the user experience in mind. Take yesterday's announcement of the ASK Mobile GPS service that they are offering. This is some pretty cool stuff. But let's not get carried away here. Google is the undisputed "King" or "Queen" if you like of Search. Google is innovative, Google strives to make the world a better place. Some say Google is the only game in town when it comes to search. Looking at the lack of innovation on the search front from Microsoft, AOL and at times Yahoo, one might actually think that Google may indeed be the only game in town. Just don't tell the folks at ASK that. You see ASK want to cause consumers to think about another option other then Google. From what I've seen, they just might do it too.

Reports suggest that ASK's new algorithm, named Edison, upgrades the capabilities of Teoma and DirectHit to do much more with the social aspects of relevancy in queries, going deeper into user traffic and communities to calculate the authorities within a given area and provide a much better search result for the user. Not a bad start. Add a few TV spots and some viral marketing efforts and the next thing you know ASK is starting to look like a great option to Google.

What about the existing relationship between Google and ASK? Well Barry Diller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IAC, has stated that "We are in discussions with everybody. The Ask/Google expiration at the end of the year, I think we will be way ahead of it in terms of solidifying what our future is going to be. And that is about all we can say about it right now, other than I am kind of certain it will be done by summer."

Spending $100 million on the promotion of the ASK brand may just be the start of an updated version of a children's story that we have all read, "The Little Engine That Could".

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 15, 2007  
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