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Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Answer engine
Available inEnglish
FoundedJune 3, 1996; 25 years ago (1996-06-03) (as Ask Jeeves)
Headquarters555 City Center
Oakland, California, U.S.[1]
Created byGarrett Gruener
David Warthen (Founders)
Douglas Leeds (CEO)
Current statusActive (originally known as Ask Jeeves) is a question answering-focused e-business founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California.

The original software was implemented by Gary Chevsky, from his own design. Warthen, Chevsky, Justin Grant, and others built the early website around that core engine. In 2006, the "Jeeves" name was dropped and they refocused on the search engine, which had its own algorithm.[2] In late 2010, facing insurmountable competition from more popular search engines like Google, the company outsourced its web search technology and returned to its roots as a question and answer site.[3] Douglas Leeds was elevated from president to CEO in 2010.[4]

Three venture capital firms, Highland Capital Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, and The RODA Group were early investors.[5] is currently owned by InterActiveCorp (IAC) under the NASDAQ symbol NasdaqIAC, and its corporate headquarters are located at 555 City Center, in the Oakland City Center development in downtown Oakland, California.


Jeeves was originally known as Ask Jeeves,[6] "Jeeves" being the name of a "gentleman's personal gentleman", or valet, fetching answers to any question asked. The character was named after Jeeves, Bertie Wooster's Valet in the fictional works of P. G. Wodehouse.[7]

The original idea behind Ask Jeeves was to allow users to get answers to questions posed in everyday, natural language, as well as by traditional keyword searching. The current still supports this, with support for math, dictionary, and conversion questions.

Ask Jeeves launched in beta in mid-April 1997 and fully launched on June 1, 1997.[6]

On September 18, 2001, Ask Jeeves acquired Teoma for over $1.5 million.[8]

In July 2005, Ask Jeeves was acquired by IAC.[9][10]

In February 2006, Jeeves was removed from Ask Jeeves and the search engine rebranded to Ask.[2][9]

On June 5, 2007, relaunched with a 3D look.[11]

On May 16, 2006, Ask implemented a "Binoculars Site Preview" into its search results. On search results pages, the "Binoculars" let searchers have a sneak peek of the page they could visit with a mouse-over activating a pop-up screenshot.

In December 2007, Ask released the AskEraser feature,[12] allowing users to opt-out from tracking of search queries and IP and cookie values. They also vowed to erase this data after 18 months if the AskEraser option is not set. HTTP cookies must be enabled for AskEraser to function.[13][14]

An search of Wikipedia.

On July 4, 2008, Ask acquired Lexico Publishing Group, which owns,, and[15][16]

In August 2008, Ask launched the Ask Kids search engine designed for children.[10]

On July 26, 2010, released a closed-beta Q&A service. The service was released to the public on July 29, 2010.[17] launched its mobile Q&A app for the iPhone in late 2010.[18] now reaches 100 million global users per month[19] through its website with more than 2 million downloads of its flagship mobile app.[20] The company has also released additional apps spun out of its Q&A experience, including Ask Around[21] in 2011 and PollRoll[22] in 2012.

Search engine shut-down

In 2010, abandoned the search industry, with the loss of 130 search engineering jobs, because it could not compete against more popular search engines such as Google. Earlier in the year, Ask had launched a Q&A community for generating answers from real people as opposed to search algorithms then combined this with its question-and-answer repository, utilizing its extensive history of archived query data to search sites that provide answers to questions people have.[23]

To avoid a situation in which no answers were available from its own resources, the company outsourced to an unnamed third-party search provider the comprehensive web search matches that it had gathered itself.[24]

Ask Sponsored Listings

Formerly the direct sales engine for, Ask Sponsored Listings is no longer available, having merged with Sendori, an operating business of IAC, in 2011.[25]

Corporate details headquarters in Oakland, California

Ask Jeeves, Inc. stock traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange from July 1999 to July 2005, under the ticker symbol ASKJ. In July 2005, the ASKJ ticker was retired upon the acquisition by IAC, valuing at US$1.85 billion.

In 2012 made two acquisitions as part of a larger strategy to offer more content on the website. On July 2, 2012, purchased content discovery start-up[26] nRelate, for an undisclosed amount. That was followed by the company's acquisition of expert advice and information site, which closed in September 2012.[27]

On August 14, 2014, acquired popular social networking website ASKfm, where users can ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity.[28] As of August 14, 2014, had 180 million monthly unique users in more than 150 countries around the world,[29] with its largest user base in the United States.[30] Available on the web and as a mobile app, ASKfm generates an estimated 20,000 questions per minute with approximately 45 percent of its mobile monthly active users logging in daily.[31] To date, the mobile app has been downloaded more than 40 million times.[31]

Marketing and promotion

Apostolos Gerasoulis, the co-creator of Ask's Teoma algorithmic search technology, starred in four television advertisements in 2007, extolling the virtues of's usefulness for information relevance.[32] A Jeeves balloon appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through 2000-2004.

After a hiatus from mass consumer marketing, Ask returned to TV advertising in the fall of 2011 after refocusing its site on questions and answers.[33] Instead of national advertising, Ask focused on local markets. In the summer of 2012, Ask launched a national cinema campaign,[34] along with other out-of-home tactics in certain markets such as New York and Seattle.[35]

As part of a Seattle-based local market effort, launched its "You Asked We Answered"[36] campaign in 2012, in which the company "answered" residents' top complaints about living in their city, including easing morning commutes and stadium traffic, as well as keeping the local Parks and Rec department wading pools open.

On January 14, 2009, became the official sponsor of 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte's No. 96 Ford. Ask would become the official search engine of NASCAR.[37] was the primary sponsor for the No. 96 for 18 of the first 21 races and had rights to increase this to a total of 29 races that season.[38] The car debuted in the 2009 Bud Shootout where it failed to finish the race, but subsequently returned strongly, placing as high as 5th in a March 1, 2009 Shelby 427 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.[39]'s foray into NASCAR represented the first instance of its venture into what it calls "Super Verticals".[40]


  1. ^ "". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Ryan, Kevin (2010-11-12). "The Long, Sad Story of". Archived from the original on 2019-01-15. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Kopytoff, Verne G. (November 9, 2010). " Giving Up Search to Return to Q-and-A Service". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "IAC Management". IAC. Archived from the original on January 5, 2012.
  5. ^ "Ask Jeeves, Inc. initial public offering prospectus". Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ a b Engine Report, The Search (August 5, 1997). "Ask Jeeves: Metacrawler With A Twist". Search Engine Watch. Archived from the original on July 6, 1998. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Sherman, Chris (2003-10-08). "What's In A (Search Engine's) Name?". Search Engine Watch. Archived from the original on 2015-01-03. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Teoma - The Superior Search Engine?". Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b "Short History of Early Search Engines - The History of SEO". Retrieved .
  10. ^ a b "IAC". Archived from the original on 2010-12-26. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Major Relaunch For Ask: Ask3D, Techcrunch, June 4, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2007.
  12. ^ Takes the Lead on Log Retention; Microsoft and Yahoo! Follow, Retrieved January 3, 2008.
  13. ^ "Does AskEraser Really Erase?". Electronic Privacy Information Center. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  14. ^ "Letter to U.S. Federal Trade Commission" (PDF). Center for Democracy and Technology. January 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  15. ^ Auchard, Eric (July 3, 2008). " closes acquisition of". Reuters.
  16. ^ " closes deal". CNet. July 4, 2008.
  17. ^ " Q&A Service Drops July 29th". Softpedia. July 27, 2010.
  18. ^ Christian, Zibreg (September 24, 2010). " has an iPhone app that lets you ask and get local answers". Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ Sterling, Greg. "Ask CEO Doug Leeds Proclaims Search Wars "Over," Says Yahoo Can Be Great Again". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 2012.
  20. ^ Knight, Kristina. "How Tina Fey inspired to change". BizReport. Retrieved 2012.
  21. ^ Perez, Marin. "Ask Around app brings location-based conversations to iPhone". Into Mobile. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved 2012.
  22. ^ Spirrison, Brad. " hits the polls with Pollroll". Appolicious. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  23. ^ Van Grove, Jennifer. " Reinvents Itself with a Focus on Community Q&A". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 2013.
  24. ^ Kopytoff, Verne (November 9, 2010). " to Return to Old Service". New York Times. Retrieved 2013.
  25. ^ "Ask Sponsored Listings is now Sedori". Sendori. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ de Senerpont Domis, Olaf. "Q&A with's CEO and nRelate's Founder". The Deal Pipeline. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  27. ^ Stewart, Christopher. "Times Co. Sells for $300 Million". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012.
  28. ^ Magid, Larry. "IAC's Buys And Hires A Safety Officer To Stem Bullying". Forbes. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Curtis, Sophie. "Tinder owner buys social network ASKfm". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ Sullivan, Laurie. " Acquires Q&A Social Network, Prepares To Add Tools To Increase Safety". Media Post. Media Post. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ a b Perez, Sarah. "IAC Agrees To Work With Regulators On Cyberbullying Protections Following ASKfm Deal". Techcrunch. Techcrunch. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "About TV Spots". Archived from the original on April 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  33. ^ Ha, Anthony. " Returns to TV, Cautiously". AdWeek. Retrieved 2012.
  34. ^ Vega, Tanzina. " Heralds a New Focus". New York Times. Retrieved 2012.
  35. ^ Sandoval, Greg. "Hey, Times Square! I'm Google+. Please Notice Me". CNET. Retrieved 2012.
  36. ^ Sullivan, Laurie. " Launches 'You Asked' Branding Campaign". Media Post. Retrieved 2012.
  37. ^ Official Release (January 14, 2009). "- enters NASCAR with multi-faceted program". Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  38. ^ Duane Cross. "Labonte will drive No. 96 for Hall of Fame in 2009 - 14 January 2009". Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  39. ^ [1] Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ " Partners With NASCAR, Says "Super Verticals" Will Put It Back In Search Race". January 13, 2009. Retrieved 2011.

External links

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