Ask.com has followed Yahoo in laying off a good percentage of its workforce, with the announcement that 8% of its employees, totaling 40 people, will be laid off.
Gary Price, a strong ambassador for Ask.com, librarian research advocate and author of the Resource Shelf blog was among those let go by Ask.com :
This two year adventure (almost to the day) has been fun, educational, and all around a great time. It sure made getting up in the AM and/or waiting for delayed flight easy. It’s so awesome to have a job you love and to be part of a product you believe in.
I learned a lot about the search business and made many friends at the company. Friends who I plan to have as friends for a long time. I would like to thank all of them. You made Ask.com a great place to work.
The product was good two years ago and I have been there and hopefully contributed just a bit to make Ask even better than it was before.
Seems a bit odd Gary and Patrick hosted an Ask.com party / get together last week at SMX West. Thanks for the wine and discussion Gary and introducing me to some of your favorite mobile applications. Best to you on your future efforts Gary.
Ask.com’s new IAC grown CEO Jim Safka has outlined a new future for Ask.com which is more IAC oriented and less search driven, which sounds like it will become more of a Yahoo Answers for women than he innovative search engine it has become over the past three years:
Instead of trying to build products that would appeal to “the digerati” or “West Coast elite,” as Ask had been, he wants to focus Ask on meeting the needs of its core audience, predominantly women who use the site to ask questions about topics like entertainment and health. To do that, he says the company will launch new products and enhance its technology through efforts like pulling in more community-generated answers.
The company has considered a number of strategic options, including selling a stake in Ask’s European business to a media company or other investors, according to people familiar with the situation. These people said that the company had in recent months discussed a possible joint-venture with British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc but that talks fizzled. Mr. Safka said that Ask is still actively pursuing opportunities to expand by linking up with partners but he declined to comment any specific partnerships. A spokesman for Sky did not have an immediate comment.
So where will this take Ask.com’s Teoma search technology? Your ideas and comments are welcome below.