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August 30, 2006

Search with a :-)

For a long time people have wanted the ability to search for terms and phrases on the web using non-letter (A-Z) characters. Put another way, searching using non-alphanumeric characters.

Well the time has come here at Ask.com and we've started to roll-out some what we hope are useful and practical examples.

We now offer a growing list of emoticons (aka smileys) that can be found by simply typing the smiley into the search box. Look for the definition in a Smart Answer box at the top of web results page.

Examples include:

:-) - Find this emoticon's meaning

:-/ - Find this emoticon's meaning

:D - Find this emoticon's meaning

Of course, each Smart Answer also includes links straight to a dictionary for more emoticons and other net terms. We even offer a link to learn more about IM ettiqutte.

By the way, we also offer a non-alphanumeric result for a popular weblog/news site.

In addition to smileys, we're building a set of Smart Answers for instant messaging shorthand like
brb, lol and rotfl.

Again, we just don't give you the definition but also links to sites where you can learn more.

We plan on doing more with non-alphanumeric searching in the future.

All of this is about Smart Answers saving users time and effort in getting to the information they need.

Enjoy!

The Ask.com Smart Answer Team

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August 22, 2006

Treasure Hunted

In case you missed it -- last night was the Treasure Hunter's finale.

Ask.com would like to congratulate the Genius Team on winning the treasure, which amounted to 3 million dollars.

We really enjoyed being the official search engine for the show, and we're glad that our search engine and tools were there to help the contestants throughout its entirety - both on-air and in the online game.

For more on Treasure Hunters: Go to NBC.com | Search on Ask.com

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August 16, 2006

Ask.com Goes to the Movies and Watches Some TV

Ask.com has been offering our users a number of Smart Answers with film information (awards, bios, and more) since 2003. Now, not only do we offer film info but also DVD and television data.

Here's a quick look at some of what we currently offer.

Movies in General

One easy way to explore the world of film is simply to type movies into Ask.com

At the top of the results page you'll find our general Movie Smart Answer. In it, we provide three quick search tool options that allow you to query specialty databases which contain a ton of information. We also offer direct links to Current Releases, Upcoming Releases, Top Box Office rankings, and Top DVDs. Pretty handy.

Why Don't You Just Tell Us The Name of the Movie You'd Like To See?

If you know the title of the movie you want to go see, for example searching for Talladega Nights, a Smart Answer for the specific film appears at the top of our results page with an image of the movie poster, brief synopsis, MPAA rating, links to reviews and direct links to the trailer and official movie site. We offer a zipcode search tool that helps you quickly dive into where and when you can see it near you.

Of course, you can also always cut right to the chase and search for the movie's title and the Zip Code to get the showtimes right at the top of the search page right from the get go. Our Movie Showtime Smart Answer see the other films playing at these Local theaters. When possible, we try to make going out to the movies even easier for you by providing direct links to buy tickets right within the Movie Showtimes Smart Answer.

Tip: Another neat feature Ask.com offers is disambiguation help if you enter the name of a city without a state and there is more than one city with that name. For example, this search for Talladega Nights, Springfield assumes Springfield, MA but also makes finding any other location named Springfield (Springfield, MO, IL, etc.) easily accessible via a pull-down menu.

Movie Smart Answers are not only limited to films that are currently showing in theaters. We also encompass most titles available on DVD. Here's an example for Citizen Kane.

For these types of films, we provide info about the DVD and a direct link to a massive set of reviews via the Movie Review Query Engine. Here's are two more examples. One for Alfred Hitchcock's classic, Rear Window and the other for Jaws. Wikipedia fans will be happy to learn that in some cases, Wikipedia entries are provided as Smart Answers for some films. Here are a couple of examples: Caddyshack or Anatomy of a Murder

Mad About Movies

Movie fans can quickly find Academy Award winners directly on results pages. Remember you don't need to ask your query in question format but if you do, that's not a problem.

For example, Academy Award Best director 1976 Best actor 1999 Oscar Best picture 1945

Second, we offer bios and other related links for some of Hollywood's greats. Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall , Judy Garland, Meryl Streep are among some of our more popular performers.

Tube Time

Similarly, we offer a large set of Smart Answers with info about for thousands of TV programs with links to episode guides, show overviews, and more.

For instance; Seinfeld, Entourage, Charmed, All in the Family, Carol Burnett Show

So, if it's movie showtimes, film reviews, award winners, or background about your favorite tv shows, Ask.com offers Smart Answers to make your entertainment time more enjoyable.

Have Fun and Enjoy Your Film or Show,
The Ask.com Smart Answers Team

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August 09, 2006

On Fire at SES

I'm taking a few moments away from attending SES to post some pictures from our party on Monday night. In contrast to some past parties where we had appearances by everyone from Boba Fett to William Hung, our goal this time was to just have a place where people could lounge around and have fun. Of course, we couldn't completely help ourselves, resorting to a minor pyrotechnic display toward the end of the night.

Here's a peek at the fun:



We're very glad to hear everyone enjoyed themselves, including Loren:

"Ask.com hosted an awesome party Monday evening which lived up to total expectation of the crowd who have been pampered with Ask.com marketing team craziness at many a Search Engine Strategies get together". - Fire Breathing at Ask.com Party

Big props and special thanks go out to Usha Mishra & Jennifer Hallett for pulling off another great SES event.

PS: Requests have been flooding in, and yes, we'll post some photo booth pictures soon, too.

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August 02, 2006

SES San Jose 2006

SES San Jose 2006

Search Engine Strategies is touching down in San Jose next week for the annual Bay Area conference. As always, there are some very informative panel discussions occurring throughout the week, many of which will include folks from Ask.com & Bloglines.

* Auditing Paid Listing & Click Fraud Issues: Paul Vallez, Director of Search Advertising Products, Ask.com
* Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues: Rahul Lahiri, VP of Product Management, Ask.com
* Meet the Search Ad Networks: James Speer, VP of Marketing and Products, Ask.com
* Meet the Blog & Feed Search Engines: Robyn DeuPree, Senior Product Manager, Bloglines
* Speaking Unofficially: Search Engine Bloggers: Gary Price, Director of Online Information Resources, Ask.com
* Meet the Crawlers: Kaushal Kurapati, Director of Search Relevance and Quality, Ask.com


We hope to see you there!

Related Links: Search Engine Strategies - Official site | SES San Jose - Resources from Ask.com | Conference Schedule

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