Ask.com, acquired by media mogul Barry Diller for $1.85 billion to compete with Google Inc., making 130 of its engineering employees redundant and conceding much of its search business to competitors.
According to President Doug Leeds, Ask.com is dismissing engineers based in New Jersey, USA and Hangzhou, China. They are also ceasing work on their algorithmic search technology.
Ask.com will consolidate their engineering operations at their headquarters in Oakland, California. Instead they will focus their resources in developing its online question and answer service.
The original Ask Jeeves was a site in which users posed questions to receive relevant search results. The new Q&A platform also provides answers to users’ questions. These answers are provided from links to relevant websites and answers from members of the Ask.com community.
President Leeds admitted Google has become too powerful for Ask.com to compete with.
Google, the number one search provider controls the majority of all UK and US searches, according to Nielsen. Ask.com ranked 6th amongst search providers in the US, with a market share of less than 2%.
Ask.com will continue to promote its search box on their site, with the results provided by one of its competitors, whom they declined to specify. Ask.com remains in partnership with Google, providing a portion of its search results from a previous wide-ranging agreement between IAC and Google. This agreement runs through to 2012.
Barry Diller purchased the search engine then known as Ask Jeeves back in 2005, believing he could battle with the likes Google and Yahoo!.