Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane of's strategy

Yesterday, IAC threw in the towel on continued investment in's search algorithm. isn't going away though.

But it's fascinating to look back at all the things tried to do to beat Google and yet still managed to only get 2% search market share, according to Nielsen.

June 2007: Ask 3D is launched. It had featured a 3-paneled search results page that represented the three stages of each search: type a query, review results, and click through to content. At the time, they were touting their three-pronged marketing strategy as:

1. Innovate in a way that matters to users
2. Become known as "the other search engine"
3. Give people who already use a reason to be excited about the brand

March 2008: discloses about two-thirds of their users are women and said it's going to renew its focus on the "question and answer" format. The online marketing world had various opinions on this, including my blog post

February 2009: IAC CEO Barry Diller positions at the center of its media strategy and says is pursuing a vertical strategy, announcing NASCAR as an early partner to power searches on NASCAR websites. The company hoped to cut similar deals with other vertical content partners.

July 2010: rolls out a new "Q&A"-based query business. It relies on human beings to respond to real questions. It's like back to the future from its Ask Jeeves days!

November 2010: says it will stop investing in its search algorithm and will continue focusing on its Q&A strategy, which they claim is doing well. The Q&A platform is supposed by natural language processing and humans.

Did I miss a street corner or two on this walk down memory lane? If so, leave me a comment to add to the timeline.


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