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March 31, 2006

Update: Launching Tonight!

Thanks for your feedback!  Due to popular demand, the launch will occur ahead of schedule.  We're launching it tonight at 6pm PST, so be sure to visit Ask.com starting at that time if you'd like to check it out.  (What better way to pre-party on a Friday night than to Gamma-test a new search product?  Put on a little Duran Duran and test away!) 

Gamma?  Yes.  The new product is being released in Gamma mode, which is one step beyond Beta, but still not ready for primetime.  Thus, it will be live on Ask.com, for all users, during the test period.  Please send us your comments with recommended improvements.

Details are below in an advance copy of the press release:

============================

Ask.com Introduces RhymeRank™

Cutting Edge Technology Provides Phaster and Phresher Related Search Results

Oakland, CA, April 1, 2006 – Ask.com announced today the introduction of RhymeRank, an innovative search technology capable of producing related search results that rhyme with a searcher’s original query.  The new product is located on the right-hand side of the Ask search results page, under the heading, “Rhyme Your Search.” 

“This will go down as the day the momentum in the search wars shifted to Ask.com,” said Jim Lanzone, General Manager of Ask U.S.  “When combined with our site’s already-powerful “Narrow Your Search” and “Expand Your Search” capabilities, “Rhyme Your Search” sets Ask.com apart with the unprecedented ability to suggest phat new ideas for your search.”

RhymeRank was developed at a top-secret laboratory near Ask’s headquarters in Oakland, California.  It is based upon the educational theory that people commit information to memory more effectively when it is phonetically consistent.  Understanding this, Ask hired dozens of experts to develop algorithms capable of producing the best and most irrelevant rhymes.  For example, for the query, “Weight Watchers® Rewards”, Ask.com’s RhymeRank will suggest the following alternative searches:

Rhyme Your Search
mongolian hordes
the history of fords
pictures of fjords
maternity wards
create free message boards
names of drug lords
toward or towards
chart of guitar cords
bill cosby awards
roman legions swords

“Web 3.0 is clearly upon us,” noted John Battelle, author of The Search, and one of the world’s leading experts on the search industry.  “RhymeRank smartly builds upon the recent relaunch of Ask.com.  This is a BIG DEAL and is the kind of innovation that demands Ask’s rivals stand up and take notice.  Or to sit on the sidelines in the position of the lotus.”

“Aspiring rappers and poets are a huge, untapped market,” said lead engineer Keith Hogan.  “Someone will win a Grammy or Pulitzer one day using this product.   Or, at the very least, an Open Mic Night.”

Ask.com is a trademark of IAC Search & Media, Inc.  All other marks are the trademarks of their respective owner.

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What Should We Do?

Due to an unusual release schedule here at Ask this week, we are faced with an interesting dilemma.  We have an amazing new feature in the pipe that searchers everywhere will benefit from, and it'll be ready to go out tomorrow.  But if we release it on a Saturday, no one will hear about it. 

Do we wait until Monday, so we can get more buzz?  Or do we release it on Saturday, so people can start using it and benefiting right away?  Please use the comments form below to cast your vote.

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March 30, 2006

George Mason Fact Guide

Facts:
* George Mason is the first 11 seed to make the Final Four since LSU in 1986 and the first non-BCS team to make it since Penn and Indiana State in 1979.

* Is just the second double-digit seed to reach the Final Four, hitting six straight 3-pointers in the second half and shooting 5-for-6 in overtime to stun top-seeded and heavily favored UConn 86-84.

* This season set new school records for wins in a season (27), assists in a season (497), field-goal percentage defense (.384) and scoring defense (58.9).


Sources: GoMason.com | CBS.Sportsline.com

ps. If you find this post perplexing, read this article.

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March 24, 2006

Ask In Primetime

As Barry points out, we have some new ads running on many of your favorite shows. For your viewing pleasure, they're posted below. The underlying theme is that search is still evolving and searchers are still evolving. The tools we've created at Ask that make searching better and faster are examples of that evolution. (So you should, like, try it out and see for yourself!)

Let us know what you think!

CAFÉ
In the midst of an Internet cafe where searchers have yet to evolve, one discovers Ask.com's unique tools starts remembering what it's like to feel human.

ANIMALS IN PANTS
A scientist using the Binoculars tool on Ask ponders the question of what separates man from beast...and gets some help from an unexpected source.

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March 21, 2006

Ask.com Nederland: Search Better and Find Faster!

Ask.com Nederland

I am very proud to announce that Ask.com has landed in the Netherlands, as we have recently introduced the beta version of Ask.com Nederland. Our unique search technology is now available for all Dutch people to enjoy. Jeeves, our loyal butler has retired with honor and left us with a sleeker design and new search tools. Try it out and discover: Ask.com Nederland!

The Dutch press has picked up on the new site and wrote some very positive responses that confirm our expectation that Ask.com Nederland would be received with much enthusiasm:

Ask.com is the only big search engine that divides the Web into 'site communities'”
- Henk de Hooge, Dutch Cowboys

Like its competitors it is based on link popularity. But Ask.com takes it up a notch. It also analyzes the notoriety and 'reputation' that the links have among the experts of specific fields.
-Marco Derksen, Marketingfacts

We have also received some good feedback from users:
“Lots of functionality and no baloney! Exactly right! Keep it up!”
“I love the site. … and the tools palette is really great.”

With Ask.com Nederland we enter the Dutch search arena with a unique and refreshing approach to search. The search technology that Ask.com has developed is unrivaled and interprets the Web as it is naturally structured, in organically formed topic communities. This allows us to identify the most authoritative and respected web sites for your queries.

Besides offering a first-class search engine, Ask.com also comes with a package of features and tools united in our “Toolbox”. These search tools make searching and finding things even easier and transform web surfing into a social activity:

One of the best examples of the “social’ character of our search tools is MijnAsk, the personalized search service that lets you save web pages, upload and save images, and transfer and share information by organizing contents in folders. I use it on a daily basis myself. My personal favorite in the Toolbox is Bloglines. With Bloglines you can keep track of the blogs and RSS feeds that are most important and interesting to you - and even create your own blog - without installing any software. For our Dutch site, we made sure to include Binoculars, our tool that creates previews of Web sites without having to click through to the site, a very nifty and great time-saving tool. We are also very happy to have Image Search on our Dutch site; search specifically among the billions of images that are out there.

And this is just the beginning. The coming months we will add a wide range of search tools like News, Smart Answers, Encyclopedia, Related Search and much more to the Toolbox. In the meanwhile we will keep improving our main objective: to be the most advanced search engine that finds the best results the fastest.

We love to hear what you think of Ask.com Nederland. Please send us your feedback at this address: opmerkingen@ask.help.com.

Search and you shall find with Ask.com Nederland. Enjoy!

Tico Andrea
Product Specialist – The Netherlands

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Ask.com Nederland: makkelijker zoeken en sneller vinden!

Ask.com Nederland

Het is voor mij een eer om aan te mogen kondigen dat Ask.com met zijn unieke zoektechnologie nu ook in Nederland is neergestreken. Jeeves, onze trouwe butler heeft eervol afscheid genomen en ons een nieuwe en strakke vormgeving nagelaten. Probeer het nu uit en ontdek: Ask.com Nederland!

Ook de pers heeft lucht gekregen van de aanwezigheid van onze Nederlandse bètaversie en de positieve reacties bevestigen onze verwachting dat Ask.com Nederland een blijvertje zal zijn in de Nederlandse internetwereld.

Ask.com is de enige grote zoekmachine die het web verdeelt in 'gemeenschappen' per onderwerp…
- Henk de Hooge, Dutch Cowboys

Net als andere zoekmachines maakt Ask.com gebruik van de populariteit van links om resultaten te ordenen. Ask.com gaat echter verder.Ook de reputatie van webpagina’s onder experts weegt mee bij het vaststellen van de relevantie.” - Marco Derksen, Marketingfacts.

Ook gebruikers zijn laaiend enthousiast over onze zoekmachine:
Veel functionaliteiten en niet teveel bombarie. Precies goed!
Gefeliciteerd met jullie geweldige zoekmachine! Het ziet er erg mooi uit.

Met Ask.com Nederland betreden we de Nederlandse internetarena met een unieke en verfrissende manier van zoeken. De zoektechnologie van Ask.com is enig in zijn soort en kijkt naar het Internet zoals het op natuurlijke wijze is geordend, in organisch gevormde gemeenschappen. Dit stelt ons in staat de meest relevante en betrouwbare webpagina’s te vinden als antwoord op uw zoekopdrachten.

Naast het "pure" zoeken biedt Ask.com Nederland ook een aantal handige extra's die we gebundeld hebben in een makkelijke navigatiebalk op de startpagina, genaamd “Gereedschap”. Dit zoekgereedschap geeft u de mogelijkheid nog sneller en eenvoudiger te zoeken naar alles wat u interesseert en tovert websurfen om tot een sociale activiteit.

Zelf ben ik heel enthousiast over het sociale aspect dat MijnAsk toevoegt aan het Internet en gebruik het dagelijks. Met MijnAsk kunt u afbeeldingen en webpagina's op het Internet opslaan, e-mailen en delen met familie en vrienden. Onze unieke Verrekijkers geven u een voorproefje van een website zonder dat u hem hoeft te openen, heel handig en tijdsbesparend. Een andere topper in het Gereedschap is Bloglines; lees het laatste nieuws het eerst met onze nieuwsverzamelaar die al het nieuws voor u bundelt en u in staat stelt zelf uw bijdrage aan het nieuws te leveren met weblogs. We zijn ook verheugd dat we onze afbeeldingenzoeker voor Nederland beschikbaar hebben kunnen stellen. Zoek specifiek in de miljarden plaatjes die het Internet rijk is! En dit is pas het begin. De komende maanden gaan we onze gereedschapskist flink uitbreiden met features die op de Amerikaanse website, www.ask.com al beschikbaar zijn: Nieuws, Smart Answers, Encyclopedie, Verwante Zoekresultaten en nog veel meer, speciaal geoptimaliseerd voor de Nederlandse markt.

We zijn heel benieuwd wat u vindt van Ask.com Nederland. Laat het ons weten via opmerkingen@ask.help.com.

Zoek en gij zult vinden met Ask.com Nederland. Veel plezier!

Tico Andrea
Product Specialist – The Netherlands

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March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today's the day to celebrate the Irish.
Remember to wear some green and join in the festivities. We have.

Quick Links:
* Holiday History
* St. Patrick's Biography
* All About Ireland 

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March 14, 2006

Welcome Ask.com Italia!

Ask.com Italia

I'm excited to announce that now Italians too can enjoy Ask's advanced search technology. Our new Ask.com Italia was officially launched in beta on March 8. Italian users may have caught a glimpse of Ask.com and its remarkable technology after they read about our newly opened European Research Center in Pisa. Now, they can enjoy it in a localized version.

You will notice that our butler and mascot Jeeves has retired; he leaves us with a sleeker homepage and instinctive search tools, gathered in a convenient toolbox.

One of the cool Ask products currently available on the Italian site is MioAsk, the personalized search service which lets you save web pages, upload and save images, and transfer and share information by organizing contents in folders. Another is Bloglines, our perfect feed aggregator where you can find the most extensive and best quality collection of blogs available on the Web - even create your own blog - without installing any software. We made sure to add the Binoculars website preview tool as well; you just mouse over the binoculars icon to see a thumbnail of the home page, without having to click through to the site itself. I personally use our Image Search all the time.

This is just a taste! In the near future, we expect to offer Italian users the new services already available on the US site www.ask.com: News, Smart Answers, Related Search, and many others, all in a fully localized Italian format.

I've been proudly reading the Italian press and taking notice of the excitement surrounding the arrival of a new search engine in the national market.

ComputerWorld Italia is impressed by the Ask.com proprietary algorithm ExpertRank and points out the engine's uniqueness, "Like its competitors it is based on link popularity but, unlike them, it analyzes also the notoriety and 'reputation' that the links have among the experts of specific fields, subdividing the Web into 'site communities'".

PC World Italia notes the novelty of the tools on Ask.com US: "It is exactly these functionalities, together with the proprietary algorithm, which distinguish it from the competitors and will be localized one after the other for Italy".

The Team and I look forward to receiving comments and suggestions from Italian users to help us perfect Ask.com Italia. Have a look at the site and send us your ideas and feedback at the address commenti@help.ask.com.

Search better on Ask.com Italia!

Raffaella Buschiazzo
Italy Product Specialist

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Benvenuto Ask.com Italia!

Ask.com Italia

Vi annuncio con immenso piacere che ora anche gli Italiani potranno approfittare della tecnologia di ricerca avanzata Ask. Il nuovo Ask.com Italia è stato lanciato ufficialmente in versione beta l'8 marzo. Probabilmente gli utenti italiani avranno già avuto modo di intravedere Ask.com e provare la sua straordinaria tecnologia, dopo aver letto dell'apertura a Pisa del nostro centro di ricerche europeo. Adesso potranno utilizzarlo in versione localizzata.

Noterete che il nostro maggiordomo-mascotte Jeeves è andato in pensione, lasciandoci una homepage dal look più sobrio e strumenti di ricerca istintivi raccolti nel pratico toolbox.

Uno dei prodotti cool di Ask attualmente disponibile nel sito italiano è MioAsk, il servizio di ricerca personalizzata per salvare facilmente pagine e immagini web, trasferire e condividere informazioni organizzando il tutto in cartelle. C'è poi Bloglines, il perfetto aggregatore di feed dove creare blog personali e trovare la più ricca raccolta dei migliori blog del web, senza installare software. Abbiamo anche aggiunto al nostro sito italiano i Binocoli, uno strumento per visualizzare l'anteprima di un sito senza doverci entrare; infatti passando il mouse sopra l'icona dei binocoli si visualizza un'immagine in miniatura della homepage. Io personalmente uso moltissimo la nostra Ricerca Immagini.

Tutto questo non è che un assaggio! Infatti, prevediamo di localizzare prossimamente per il mercato italiano anche i nuovi servizi già attivati sul sito USA www.ask.com: News, Smart Answers, Related Search e tanti altri.

Ho letto con orgoglio gli articoli pubblicati dalla stampa italiana in cui si denota il grande entusiamo per l'arrivo di un nuovo motore di ricerca sul mercato nazionale.

ComputerWorld Italia presenta ExpertRank, l'algoritmo proprietario di Ask.com, e ne rileva la sua unicità specificando che: "Si basa, come i concorrenti, sulla popolarità dei link analizzando però anche la notorietà e la 'reputazione' presso l'utenza esperta di diversi settori specifici, segmentando il web in 'comunità di siti'".

PC World Italia sottolinea l'originalità degli strumenti presenti su Ask.com USA, "Proprio queste funzionalità, insieme con l'algoritmo proprietario, marcano le differenze con i concorrenti, e una dopo l'altra saranno localizzate per l'Italia".

Il Team e io non vediamo l'ora di ricevere commenti e consigli dagli utenti italiani per aiutarci a perfezionare Ask.com Italia. Date un'occhiata al sito e inviateci le vostre idee e osservazioni all'indirizzo commenti@help.ask.com.

Noi di Ask.com siamo fieri di offrire agli Italiani ricerche web di qualità superiore. Quindi non ci resta che augurarvi buone ricerche!

Raffaella Buschiazzo
Italy Product Specialist

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March 07, 2006

Ask.com France: A Fresh Alternative

The French community has been waiting a long time for a newcomer in the search   engine arena. The wait is over! At the same time as Ask.com is unveiling a new image for its American, British, Japanese, Spanish and German sites, it presents its brand new   French beta version, Ask.com France.

Do as thousands of other users have already done: come and discover Ask.com France.

With the warm welcome it received in the print and online press since its launch of last week, it is to be expected that it will soon become a preferred search engine on the French web.

"Technically, the search engine offers arguments that are bound to seduce." - Yves Grandmontagne, silicon.fr

" …this beta version does not yet offer all the same features as its big English sister. However, possibilities are numerous and… some of them are quite interesting! " - Alexandre Laurent, L'Atelier

"Another search engine, maybe, but surely an alternative to what currently serves as a yardstick in the industry, and this is welcome news." - Génération   Nouvelles Technologies

The advanced technology used by Ask.com France provides fast and intelligent results to users' queries. With its unique ranking methodology, it provides better search results by identifying the most authoritative and respected web sites.

Besides offering a unique ranking algorithm, Ask.com France also offers features   and tools that will give you a refined experience. Among them, the Binoculars   that give you a preview of search results; the French translation feature for sites written in a foreign language; MyStuff, a unique area where you can save, share and store search results found while browsing the Web; and let's not forget an easy access to Bloglines, your window onto the new "living" Web.

And this is just a beginning! Ask.com France is committed to use all of its resources to offer you a product that is based on the very latest technology and that will surpass your expectations. We will offer you new services, such as news feeds, maps and itineraries, online shopping, downloads, etc.

In the meantime, we invite your comments and suggestions at this address: we aim to offer you the very best search experience.

France Précourt and Brigitte Minault
France Country Specialists

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Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of IAC Search & Media and may not have been reviewed in advance.

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