Ask.com's Search Engine Business Story

The once-mighty search giant Ask.com (formerly Ask Jeeves) today concedes its piece of search market to Google and Microsoft, marking an end of Ask.com as a search engine.

Ask.com Business Story: Growth, Business model, Decline

  • Launched in 1996, Ask.com (formerly Ask Jeeves), was once one of the world’s most recognizable search engines.
  • It quickly grew in popularity with its focus on natural language queries in addition to keyword search.
  • Ask.com took care of 2 million queries per day during its peak
  • In 1999, the company held an IPO
  • Ask.com started to bleed money and quickly lost relevance in the face of a more agile competitor: Google.
  • Its market share dwindled and its technology stagnated until it was eventually acquired by Internet conglomerate InterActiveCorp for $1.85 billion in 2005.
  • Five years later, IAC hasn’t found a way to turn the Ask.com search engine into a contender, despite its best efforts.
  • IAC will cut 130 engineering jobs in New Jersey and China, cease development of its algorithmic search technology, and refocus its efforts on the Q&A service it launched this summer.
  • The IAC-owned website is still one of the web’s top destinations
  • Its search revenue has grown in the last year (up 20% to $205 million), owing to its toolbar business.