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April 16, 2007

How You're using Ask City: 4 Months In

When we first revealed sample data from our AskCity local search product, two weeks after launch, it received a lot of positive attention from folks like Greg Sterling and WebProNews. Someone even requested to see AskCity data on a weekly basis. But we decided to hold off until we had collected a more substantial amount of data, made some behind-the-scenes updates, and launched a new feature or two.

Now, by popular demand, let's take a look at how people have used it these past four months:

BUSINESS SEARCH: TOP SERVICES

1. Restaurants
2. Hotels
3. Churches
4. Banks & credit unions
5. Car dealers
6. Lawyers/attorneys
7. Family doctor
8. Furniture dealers
9. Children & Daycare
10. Hair salons

This top ten changed quite a bit from the previous post--only Churches, Attorneys, and Family Doctors appeared in both. As for the current Top Three, Restaurants and Hotels I can understand--new ones open up often, and people rarely go to the same one twice in a row--but since when do people forget where their churches are?

BUSINESS SEARCH: TOP DINING CHOICES

1. American
2. Italian
3. Pizza
4. Seafood
5. Mexican
6. Chinese restaurants
7. Japanese/sushi
8. Fast Food
9. Steakhouse
10. Hamburger restaurants

What's for dinner? American food, apparently. Even in our first check-in, it was #3 behind Italian and Pizza. I don't think that's because so many people decide, "Let's eat American tonight" before searching; more likely it's because "American" is one of the most common options in the "Related Categories" part of the interface.

Just a click lets you narrow or expand your local choices using entire cuisines.

How else are you going to discover four-star Vietnamese restaurants in Worcester? It's like speed-dial for foodies.

This also probably explains why Italian and Pizza were also in the Top Three both times: search on one and you'll get the other in the Related Categories.

Of course, with all this great functionality, isn't it a little disturbing that most people still chose "American"? Come on, people. Eat a falafel or something. Live a little.

EVENT SEARCH: TOP EVENT TYPES

1. Concerts
2. Art and Museums
3. Sporting Event
4. Festivals
5. Plays/musicals
6. Rock and Pop
7. Theatre
8. Parades
9. Fairs
10 Jazz and Blues

Now that the weather is warming up, expect Parades and Fairs to hike up the charts. And since Baseball season's upon us, look for Sporting Events to climb one or maybe even two notches. One way or another, if you're looking for an excuse to get away from your computer, start here.

EVENT SEARCH: TOP ARTISTS

1. Blue Man Group
2. Hannah Montana
3. The Police
4. Jamie Foxx
5. Fall Out Boy
6. Rod stewart
7. Akon
8. Gwen Stefani
9. Katt Williams
10. My Chemical Romance

It's interesting to see which acts Ask.com users consider to be hot tickets, compared to, say, Pollstar's top concert draws. Blue Man Group, for instance? Yep, turns out they're touring. And am I the last person to know that Hannah Montana is Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter? Hasn't that man caused enough suffering?

And there it is: your fresh new taste of AskCity data. Interested in seeing another one farther down the line? Let us know in the comments.

Ken Grobe
Product Content Manager
Ask.com

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Comments

It's like Google's zeitgeist, only for local search, on Ask. Awesome! Please do, keep it coming. I second the comment about making it a weekly (or, bi-weekly) feature.

Posted by: Trogdor | Apr 17, 2007 3:41:01 PM

Odd that you should see such a large discrepancy between each list. Restaurants and Hotels are *always* in the top 10 on local/yellowpage sites. I wonder how you are rolling up your data...is it by keyword (using a thesaurus) or by category of the viewed locations?

as far as churches is concerned...people don't forget where their church is located (although visitors to weddings, etc are always interested in finding them). Also, people often like to find preschools at churches, maybe get hours the church is open (I'm not talking about just about services), and urls in addition to other meta data.

Posted by: yellowbot | Apr 18, 2007 4:37:43 PM

It would be very cool, if you add this feature to the German Ask! We need a new feature, until now there are only nine. Would be great if you talk to your german friends who work on the german version of Ask to add Ask City or leastwise Ask Maps! Thank you!

Posted by: Herbert | Apr 21, 2007 10:01:46 AM

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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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