OAKLAND: AskJeeves.com, in an effort to compete with Google, Yahoo, And MSN, has shown its namesake butler mascot the door.
The company, with just 2% of the market, behind America Online's 6.6% and My Way's 2.7%, and far behind market leaders Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft MSN, is launching a marketing campaign along with a revamped Web site.
The effort targets what Ask.com vp marketing Greg Ott describes as "the demanding searcher," someone who is beyond casually searching, and needs Ask.com's new tools and shortcuts.
The two-fold campaign will tout new features on the Web site. "As Internet usage has matured, the need for being able to ask a question in natural language is less," said Ott, explaining the decision to dump the well-known Jeeves. As search engines have grown more powerful, and users have become more savvy about using them, Ask.com wants to show how a search engine can be more relevant to users' needs.
Among the new features the campaign will highlight include the home page's new look; shortcuts to popular tools such as weather, and local searches; maps, which include both driving and walking directions; and the ability to either broaden or narrow the scope of a search.
Ott described the brand change as symbolic of the evolution of the company's search technology.
"We want to make people aware of what we uniquely bring to search," said Ott. "This is not just about a name change, but about the uniqueness and differentiation we bring."
Ask.com hopes to show that with a marketing campaign that includes advertising and consumer-centric media outreach, along with viral efforts.
"Search is not a zero sum game," said Ott. "Sometimes Ask.com will be the best. Other times, somebody might want something else. But for some, Ask.com is going to be what they want all the time."
"We don't want people to still think of us as that quirky little site where you ask questions," added Ott. "The brand change will help us reach out and get attention to the changes we've made."