AskJeeves Launches TV Ad Campaign

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It sometimes becomes too much to watch this rippling effect going on with search engines. You know, one does something and then so others don’t get left behind they do it too. It happened with desktop search. Or was that all co-incidental?

Anywho, ClickZ reports AskJeeves has launched a bunch of TV ads, or rather campaigns. Each one includes someone asking an in-appropriate question at the wrong time, and then AskJeeves is suggested. Typical. The tagline? “Ask Jeeves. And get what you’re searching for.” (somewhat like “Amazon.com. And You’re There.” — which by the way is my favourite slogan, believe it or not.)

Anyway, as always, I do have something to complain about, but Gary already said it. The name, “AskJeeves” suggests that if you have a question, just ask Jeeves. But guys, this isn’t 1998 when we were still un-educated enough to think that the future of search is question-answering — that’s supposed by what Encarta does, not AskJeeves! For god’s sake, AskJeeves is a search engine which searches the web, doesn’t answer questions (although it gets you there.) Until when will Ask continue promote itself as the revolutionary question-answering technology which it doesn’t even do?

And you may wonder whether what I’m saying actually has some facts to back it up — and yes, it does. This was supposed to be a different post but I guess it’ll go good with this one. Just yesterday, I was invited to a local secondary school to educate a class about web searching in their ICT project. I went along with a list of search engines and decided that I’ll do the basic stuff, you know, tell the kids about all the different web search engines, what they do, and how you can use them to find good information.

Apparently, half of the class had used a search engine before and when I asked them to name a few search engines, guess which two came first (hint: it wasn’t Google.) Yup, AskJeeves (which you may already have predicted) and Dogpile. I asked them what is so special about these search engines to the people who suggested them, and one, the person who chose AskJeeves said “it is better than Google because is actually answers my question” (or something somewhat in the lines of that) and the person who suggested Dogpile said it had a funny name (get it? Dog-pile? ;-))

So anyway, my point is, even the kids believe Jeeves — and yet I get better answers from MSN Search (with its integrated online Encarta feature) than from AskJeeves.


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