Interview with Jim Lanzone : CEO of Ask.com
Elinor Mills of CNET’s News.com has just published an interview with Ask.com’s new CEO Jim Lanzone. Jim, who has been a driving force behind Ask Jeeves and its rebranding and reform into Ask.com, recently took over as the head of the company after former Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz left for Microsoft’s Online Business Group; which is an umbrella tech division including MSN.com, MSN AdCenter, MSNTV and Windows Live.
Here’s an excerpt:
How does Ask differentiate itself from the other search engines?
Lanzone: Well, one way is that we’re not a portal, and we’re not being distracted by anything beyond core search. (Ask is innovating in areas like image search)…Our launch of image search in January has been called the best in the industry, was in an area that really hadn’t been talked about in three years. But that’s the second-leading kind of search performed on a search engine. So by improving that for users we doubled the number of searches done on our site in image search in three months, and that helped us grow market share.
That’s one way (we differentiate), by focusing on where users need better products. The other way is through our differentiated tools. Searches are no longer just about getting you a relevant result. That was a novel concept in 2001 and 2002…Ask differentiates through a unique set of tools we’ve built, such as related search and binoculars and smart answers. When people are (aware) of these, we see our frequency and retention of usage grow significantly.
Read the entire interview, Asking more of Ask.com than of Jeeves, at News.com.