Ask.com pulls out of search game

Wed 10th of November 2010, filed under SEO

Ask.com stops searching for users

One of the first global search engines has finally called it a day after failing to make an impression on Google's market share.

Ask.com, which was a leading search portal in the late 90s, is ceasing work on its algorithmic search technology and cutting 130 engineering jobs, according to Bloomberg. A further 20 engineers will be asked to relocate from New Jersey to California as the company refocuses on developing its online question-and-answer service.

Mystery surrounds Ask Jeeves

The search box on the Ask Jeeves homepage will also begin showing results from one of its competitors. However, a confidentiality agreement prevents them from naming which company has won the contract.

Ask.com currently accounts for just two per cent of the search engine market in the US, according to figures from the Nielsen Company, compared to 65 per cent for the current market leader Google. After losing popularity in the first half of the last decade, the search engine was bought by internet giant IAC in 2005 but proved unable to reverse the decline.

Doug Leeds, president of Ask.com, admitted that it was squeezed out of the search engine market by Google. He said: "It's become this huge juggernaut of a company that we really thought we could compete against by innovating. We did a great job of holding our market share but it wasn't enough to grow the way IAC had hoped we would grow when it bought us."

The search engine market has been further consolidated by the search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo, which was announced last year. Both companies hope that the landmark agreement will pave the way for them to mount a serious challenge to Google.

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