Time To Grow For Ask Jeeves

    December 19, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The IAC/InterActiveCorp property will add about 130 more staffers to its search engine crew at Ask Jeeves.

Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowitz has seen the company through the past few years, back to 2001 when he took the head job with the search engine. Since then they’ve been acquired by Barry Diller’s IAC and made available on the host of sites in IAC’s portfolio.

Now it looks like Diller wants Berkowitz to push the pedal to the metal, a report on TheStreet.com noted. Ask Jeeves (still Jeeves, didn’t Diller have the butler sent to sleep with the fishes a few months back?) will bolster its staff of 650 by 20 percent.

It’s all about the advertising. Make a better search engine, and maybe more traffic will come to it. That’s more eyeballs, more opportunities for ad impressions, more chances at getting people to click those ads.

Ask suffers from a lack of brand awareness when compared to Google or Microsoft or Yahoo. Though it has grown in the number of queries it handles, the article cited Nielsen//NetRatings figures for June through October that show Ask trails the other three sites and AOL Search by a distant margin.

The investment in new staff needs to pay off for IAC. Its stock is $3.40 off its 52-week high, and investors will not be pleased if an increase in headcount doesn’t equate to a correlating rise in revenues.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.