Former Ask Jeeves Employee Wants to Save Jeeves
There were quotes and statements leading to the dropping of Jeeves the Butler from Ask shortly after Barry Diller’s IAC acquired Ask Jeeves. A large number of people at IAC want to drop the mascot from the Ask Jeeves search engine and rebrand the company as Ask.com. The cartoon character is seen by some as being too childish or too 1990’s. One former employee of Ask Jeeves disagrees and has launched the Save Jeeves Blog to voice his opinion.
Reasons for saving Jeeves include the professional quirky approach to the search engine business: In fact — it’s a painfully curious oversight that the IAC and Ask Jeeves execs can’t see that Google and Yahoo’s own meteoric rise was brought about, in part, by their very non-serious approach to business. Google long prided itself in it’s quirky name, and often-changing artwork that showed the company’s fun-loving and human side. Yahoo, despite being deeply ingrained in business-people’s minds as a seriously powerful business, still sports a name that your average user can yodel in goofy delight.
A loyal userbase : I also know for a fact that one of the things that made us Google’s most valuable search partner, was our differentiated user base! That’s right, whereas many other sites have lots of crossover users, Jeeves has always had a remarkably high percentage of users who did NOT often use other search engines (such as Google or MSN)… Why is this? Because the butler commands loyalty.
And Jeeves’s appeal to the youth market : The other area in which Jeeves execs have been chronically short-sighted has been the value of Jeeves persona to kids. Early on in the dotcom era, with very little work and remarkably little content, Ask Jeeves Kids enjoyed an unbelievably strong following amongst children and parents and teachers (read: the backbone of our society). Sadly, due to the difficulty of “monetizing” Ask Jeeves Kids traffic, the site was neglected and ignored… with people being systematically cut from the project until there was literally nobody left to update it. Despite this, the site still gets a decent amount of traffic for something that — at least at the time of my departure from the company — had zero investment from the company. A golden opportunity to impress a very strong brand upon an entire generation of kids, in a useful and informative way, wasted — because Jeeves couldn’t immediately turn a buck.