Ask Jeeves Adds Multimedia Smart Answers
Expanding their Smart Answers to multimedia oriented searches, Ask Jeeves has announced a partnership with GoFish to provide Smart Answers content on Ask. Ask Jeeves is reportedly phasing in the multimedia Smart Answers, with the first phase including music, video and podcast content provided by GoFish.
Previous to the Ask Jeeves partnership, GoFish had launched and tested their own Smart Answers type model at SearchWebMedia.com. SearchWebMedia serves music, video, podcasts, ringtones, audiobooks, and user-generated content in a Multimedia Results box at the top of its search results page followed by Google powered web search results (try a sample search for Bebel Gilberto or 50 Cent). Consider it somewhat of a preview to future GoFish and Ask Jeeves Smart Answers projects.
If you perform a search for Michael Jackson on Ask Jeeves now, you’ll see that the GoFish results have been integrated into the Michael Jackson Smart Answer.
First Jeeves supplies the users with a description of the artist, from Who2.com. Then, Jeeves suggests that we use the Ask.com Image search to find pictures of Michael. Third is product search, via a link to PriceGrabber shopping search product listings. The products offering is followed by a Music Downloads link, which takes the user to GoFish Multimedia results. The Smart Answers box also offers a link to the King of Pop’s Official Site, Music results powered by AllMusic.com, and a Wikipedia entry on Michael.
GoFish (which also enjoys partnerships with IceRocket and About.com) results are commercial results, built upon affiliate sales partnerships with film and music distributors which help to monetize GoFish’s offerings. No comment on the monetization of the Smart Answers results in Ask Jeeves. However Daniel Read, Ask Jeeves VP Consumer Products, did tell me last week that Ask decides upon its Smart Answers partners based upon quality of the content offering alone, not monetization.
Ask’s Smart Answers Have Breathed New Life Into Ask Jeeves
Ask Jeeves has in the past year vastly improved its search results offerings with the Smart Answers program. Just less than one year ago I remember doing searches on Ask Jeeves and was completely unsatisfied with the search results, as a group of up to ten sponsored results were given above the fold, and the user would have to scroll down below the fold to follow the organic Ask results.
At the time, Ask also ranked as one of the lowest graded usability search engines of the major search offerings (if anyone has numbers from that study can you please email me or leave a comment below).
Over the past 8 months, Ask Jeeves has addressed the concerns of usability and the user experience, subtracting the sponsored link advertising and adding rich Smart Answers content, Web2.0 features and integrated searching tools. The end result is a complete turn around to the search engine, which, according to Mr. Read, benefits the entire Ask.com user experience and also builds user loyalty to the search engine.
Search Engine Journal will be following up with a deeper look into Ask Jeeves Smart Answers and its new user experience next week.