Ask Jeeves, now Ask.com, started in 1996 and had a broad market share at the beginning of 2000, particularly in the USA and Great Britain. Offers in other languages followed, e.g. a German version in 2006. The main idea was to offer a question and answer search. The user can ask a question and a team of almost 100 people offered websites matching the most frequently asked questions. Over time, the database grew, and at the same time the answers became less relevant. So they began to integrate search engines: First they used Dogpile and About.com and later they bought Direct Hit (2000) and Teoma (2001). In 2006 Asked Jeeves was renamed Ask.com, but for the UK site Ask Jeeves has been back since 2009.
|Closed||2006 (renamed in Ask.com)|
|Developer||Chevsky, Gary and Garrett Gruener and David Warthen|
|Country of Origin||US America|
|1996 - 2006||InterActiveCorp (IAC)|
|Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search
Manually by an editorial team selected sites search engine
|Used SeEn||Ask Jeeves / Ask SeEn|
|Older Version||Internet Archive / WebCite|
|Danny Sullivan (2004): Search Engine Timeline
»6/1/97 - Ask Jeeves metacrawler opens. It has been in beta testing since mid-April 1997.« ----------
»10/6/98 - AltaVista begins unannounced partnership with answer search engine Ask Jeeves. Selected answers from Ask Jeeves now appear above search results, prefaced by the phrase, "AltaVista knows the answers to these questions."«
|Chris Sherman (Apr 7, 2003): »Ask Jeeves, an online question answering service that has gradually morphed into a search engine, officially launched its site six years ago.
Jeeves was the brainchild of venture capitalist Garrett Gruener and technologist David Warthen. From the start, Jeeves was different than the other search services of the day.
The idea behind Jeeves was not to create yet another search engine or directory, but to offer a question-answering service -- a virtual online concierge.
The askjeeves.com domain was created on Wed, November 29th, 1995, shortly before AltaVista had its public launch. Yahoo, though popular, was still a small operation, hosted on servers provided by the web's major powerhouse of the time, Netscape.
Gruener and Warthen thought P.G. Wodehouse's butler character "Jeeves" embodied the idea of service they envisioned. Several artists submitted sketches, and the illustration created by Marcos Sorenson became the public face of Jeeves.
Meanwhile, work began on the search service. Though widely touted as a "natural language" search service, in reality Ask Jeeves was more of a massive database of questions, matched up with web pages that provided "answers" to the questions.
An editorial staff built the question database and selected the web pages that "answered" the questions, so at the outset Jeeves provided a very different information discovery experience than the search engines and directories of the day.
Ask Jeeves officially launched on April 7, and sold an initial public offering of shares in July 1999. The company embarked on several expensive marketing campaigns, including floating the first Internet "character" as a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon.
Ask Jeeves' popularity increased quickly, with the site becoming a top-25 web destination by early 2000, according to web measurement company Media Metrix.
Like many web search services, as Jeeves grew in both size and popularity it experienced troubles. As its question database expanded into the millions, some of the answers became less relevant. To gain additional revenue, the company began accepting sponsorships for some questions. It also morphed into a pseudo meta-search engine, with some "answers" provided by search providers like Dogpile and About.com.
In another mis-step, the company neglected to ask Jeeves' creator for permission to use the likeness of the character. A.P. Watt, the literary agent responsible for Wodehouse's estate, had threatened legal action against Ask Jeeves. A settlement was reached in early 2000, though neither side disclosed details.
By late 2000, the company was struggling. In an effort to get back on track, the company named Skip Battle, an experienced management consultant as CEO, and cut a large part of its staff.
Ask Jeeves has since experienced a turnaround. In its short lifetime, Ask Jeeves has acquired several companies, including Direct Hit, eTour, Net Effect Systems, and perhaps most notably, the search engine Teoma. Over the past couple of years, Jeeves has reaffirmed its commitment to search, and has resumed its growth.
In addition to its flagship Ask Jeeves site, the company runs AJ Kids, Ask.co.uk, and Teoma.com. Beginning this spring, the company plans to launch an aggressive marketing campaign.«
|Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003):
»Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: ... Ask Jeeves (1998; reborn 2002): Originally hailed as the "natural language" search engine when it debuted in 1998, the secret to Ask Jeeves wasn't really the ability to understand language. Instead, Ask Jeeves had over 100 editors monitoring what people searched for, then hand-selecting sites that seemed to best answer those queries. Such an approach is good for the most popular queries but doesn't help when people want unusual information. Thus Ask purchased Direct Hit in early 2000, to make it more comprehensive. The company failed to capitalize on that technology, so tried again more successfully by purchasing Teoma in 2001. In 2002, it shifted over to relying on Teoma for nearly all of its matches.« Source|
|»Ask Jeeves The idea behind Jeeves was not to create yet another search engine or directory, but to offer a question-answering service -- a virtual online concierge. Accordingly, the service was named after P.G. Wodehouse's butler character "Jeeves." Unfortunately, the company neglected to ask Jeeves' creator for permission to use the likeness of the character. A.P. Watt, the literary agent responsible for Wodehouse's estate, had threatened legal action against Ask Jeeves. A settlement was reached in early 2000, though neither side disclosed details.« Source|
Features & Functionality
|»The original idea behind Ask Jeeves was to allow users to get answers to questions posed in everyday, natural language, as well by as traditional keyword searching. The current Ask.com still supports this, with added support for math, dictionary, and conversion questions.« Source|
References & further Publications
|Wikipedia (EN): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ask_Jeeves|
|Wikipedia (Others): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ask_Jeeves|
|Krajewski, Martin (2009): Ask Jeeves. Der Diener als Informationszentrale. In: Recherche: Zeitung für die Wissenschaft. Online available at Recherche-Online URL: http://www.recherche-online.net/ask-jeeves.html|
|Lewandowski, Dirk: Web Information Retrieval: Technologien zur Informationssuche im Internet. DGI, Frankfurt am Main, 2005. // Informationswissenschaft, 7. Online available at HAW Hamburg - Department URL: http://www.bui.haw-hamburg.de/lewandowski.html|
|Lewandowski, Dirk: Neuer weltweiter Player?: IAC übernimmt Ask Jeeves. In: Password Nr. 4, 2005, S. 17-19. Online available at HAW Hamburg - Department Information. URL: http://www.bui.haw-hamburg.de/suchmaschinen-news.html|
|Lewandowski, Dirk: Ask.com: Zielgruppenorientierung oder das Ende einer Suchmaschine? In: Password Nr. 4, 2008, S. 19. Online available at HAW Hamburg - Department Information URL: http://www.bui.haw-hamburg.de/suchmaschinen-news.html|
|AskJeeves.com is now Ask.com. Online available at SEO Logic. URL: http://www.seologic.com/guide/history/askjeeves|
|Danny Sullivan (2004): Search Engine Timeline URL: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2047866/search-history-articles-search-engine-timeline|
|Chris Sherman (Apr 7, 2003): Happy Birthday, Ask Jeeves! URL: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2063934/happy-birthday-ask-jeeves|
|Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003): Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20141201235838/https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2064954/where-are-they-now-search-engines-weve-known-loved|
|Schwartz, Barry (April 19, 2009): Ask Welcomes Back Jeeves, At Least In The UK, That Is URL: http://searchengineland.com/welcome-back-jeeves-17737|
|Metamend: Ask Jeeves Search Engine Optimization Strategy URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20180305175337/https://metamend.com/archive/past-engines/search-engine-ask-jeeves/|