Ask.com has announced it is closing down its search engine and losing 130 engineering jobs in the process.
In an era where Google dominates the search market and Bing snaps at its heals, IAC – the company behind Ask.com – has decided to revert back to days of old and remodel itself as a question answering mechanism.
In a heartfelt blog, Ask.com President Doug Leeds said about the news: "While extremely hard, the decision [to leave search] was made for a number of reasons we believe will ultimately benefit our company and our products, including cost, office location, and – most importantly – focus.
"As our loyal staff knows best, Ask has taken a lot of flak through the years, fairly and unfairly, for not having a focused, cohesive strategy, for ping-ponging across different approaches and marketing tactics. The current team ended that.
"We know that receiving answers to questions is why Ask.com users come to the site, and we are now serving them in everything we do."
According to the Guardian, IAC revenue is up 20 per cent year on year and operating income stands at $28.9m.
This is because the thing that does make money for Ask.com is its toolbar, something which will be staying.
Considering Ask was a lowly sixth in rankings of search engines with a mere two per cent of audience, it seems right they change tactics.
Leeds does note that it will be using a third party for its search but doesn't reveal who.
"Investment in independent web search is not required by our strategy, nor is it required in the marketplace," he explained.
"We have access to multiple third party structured and unstructured data feeds that, when integrated, can provide a web search experience on par with what we are able to produce internally, at much lower costs."
It is uncertain whether Jeeves will be one of the casualties of the change. Considering he survived being killed and was resurrected by Ask, we are sure you'll be asking the digital butler 'HOW DO I TURN CAPS LOCK OFF?!?!' for sometime to come.
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Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.