Resurrect Jeeves, Ask How Not To Slam Google
Here’s the thing about boldness: you’d better have the chops to back it up. While Ask.com’s anti-Google guerrilla marketing campaign in London’s Underground was outed in record time, indexing of its own campaign site was even close to a record.
Ads appearing in the Tube encouraged bystanders to fight Google’s "information monopoly."
At the same time, searching for the term "Google" on Ask.com’s engine brought up a "Smart Answer" (here, it takes on the sardonic wit of a soon-to-be-back-handed teenager) featuring a man in a business suit, carrying a briefcase, on puppet-strings. "Don’t be a droid," read the snippet, "use different sources to get information." That admonition came equipped with a link to Information-Revolution.org.
Following that link leads to the bemoaning of the fact that three-quarters of the UK use just one search engine. The authors call it "sleep searching."
The puppet Smart Answer was pulled shortly after criticism ensued.
The Cat-and-the-Canary Aftermath
Don’t believe Matt Cutts when he acts like he wasn’t dying to point out why three-quarters of UK surfers were picking Google. It’s just a Southern thing – delaying the mention of unfortunate unpleasantries until there’s no getting around it.
"Okay, I’ve been waiting for someone else to notice this," writes Cutts, "but it’s been several days now, so I guess I’ll have to be the snarky one." You know, if he absolutely has to. "The whole point of information-revolution.org is to remind people to try out other search engines, right?"
Cutts pitted the two search engines against each other to see which one had better results for the site information-revolution.org. Though his first test was confounded by the wrong command, Cutts did find that Google had 19 results for the site, compared to Ask’s one indexed page.
And it appeared to be an older version of the page, the language of which is a bit different than what shows up now.
But really, guys, he just hated to have to point that out.