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September 27, 2007

AskCity and Entertainment Publishing : A Real Two-for-One Deal

If you've read any of our previous posts about AskCity, you know it's the kind of local search that's sure to save you time. Now, it can even save you money.

How? Enter IAC sister company Entertainment Publications, Inc. You might know them as the company who puts out the annual Entertainment coupon books. (My personal favorite: the discounted movie ticket coupons).

We've partnered with them to provide their coupons with our AskCity search results. Their coupon books are targeted to each city, which made them an ideal match with us. See a coupon you want? A free 14-day no-obligation trial gets you the coupon PLUS access to their whole coupon database: dining, shopping, mani-pedis...the whole local magilla.

For example:

Midas, Los Angeles
Omni Berkshire Place Hotel, New York
Flavor of India, Seattle
KB Toys, San Francisco

So the next time you do an AskCity search, keep an eye out for the Entertainment coupons--where, and when, you can really use them.

--The AskCity Team

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September 20, 2007

Happy 25th Birthday to the Smiley :-)

Ready for some history? Let's go. In 1982:

- San Francisco d. Cincinnati (26-21) in the Super Bowl

- Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd to win Wimbledon

- Michael Jackson's thriller was the top album (yes, album, NOT CD)

And something else happened--something that you might have even used today when sending an email or composing a web page:

25 years ago on Wednesday, the first email message with a smiley emoticon :-) was sent.

The sender: Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Scott E. Fahlman.

25 years have passed, and emoticons have become an essential part of communicating online. What's more, The Associated Press tells us:

Emoticons reflect the likely original purpose of language - to enable people to express emotion, said Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University..."What emoticons do is essentially provide a mechanism to transmit emotion when you don't have the voice," Nass said. In some ways, he added, they also give people "the ability not to think as hard about the words they're using."

This Carnegie Mellon page has much more.

Emoticon search: the next logical step

Here at Ask.com we're happy to report that you can actually search for some of the most popular emoticons by simply entering the characters into a search box. Each result appears as a Smart Answer at the top of a results page, containing a definition of what the emoticon stands for, a link to an emoticon list, and much more.

Here are a few examples of what you can search for:






So, congrats and a big :-) to Professfor Fahlman at CMU.

Gary Price
Director of Online Information Resources

PS: it's not only emoticons that Ask.com translates. We do the same for some of the most popular chat shorthand.


PPS: Speaking of Ask.com applications--and Carnegie Mellon University--here's an Ask.com embeddable map of the campus:

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September 11, 2007

AskCity Tips & Tricks

Summer's over and the days are already getting shorter--which means you'll have less time to plan your evenings out. There's no better time to try a few helpful short cuts, courtesy of AskCity:

Embeddable Maps

You've been asking for it--and here it is. AskCity fans can now embed their mapped results into their blogs, web pages, etc.

Want to recommend your favorite Thai restaurants? Just click on the "Embed" link at the top-right of your AskCity results page.

You'll get some HTML code that you can paste into your web site or blog.

Reroutable Maps

AskCity's Maps will always give you the most direct rote to where you want to go. But what if that route is closed off, as happened to us in the Bay Area not three weeks ago?

Using AskCity maps, you can change your route manually and AskCity will recalculate accordingly.

ZIP Code Business Search

Want to know all the pizza places in a certain ZIP code? AskCity will show you an outline of the entire ZIP code, and mark all the pizza places within that immediate vicinity.

We've clued you in to a number of AskCity tricks in the past, including how to draw an area on a map and search within it and how to juice up your AskCity movie searches. And as long as we keep coming up with ways to improve our local search, we'll continue to keep you posted.

--The AskCity Team

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September 01, 2007

Barry White, Hershey's Chocolate, and Pregnancy: September Smart Answers

You know, there's some sort of theme running through September, but I just can't put my finger on it. At least we can count on Ask.com's Smart Answers to guide us through. So let's get down to it:

Recently Added Smart Answers:

- Health Smart Answers. Sure, our Health Smart Answers include medical definitions, images, and reference links for a variety of medications , maladies, and symptoms. But you'll also find health calculators to determine your daily calorie needs, your baby's approximate due date, even your annual cost of smoking. Take a look at this recent blog post for more information.


Smart Answers for Important August Dates

9/1: Barry Gibb. (And with that, a quick plug for my friend's Bee Gees tribute band)
9/3: Labor Day.
9/8: Miss Patsy Cline.
9/9: Otis Redding.
9/10: Forgotten home run hero Roger Maris. Trivia note: born in the same town as Bob Dylan.
9/11: Day of Remembrance for the World Trade Center bombings.
9/12: Barry White. Oh yes, baby.
9/13: Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey Chocolate.
9/17: The New York Times begins publishing, 1851
9/19: Talk Like a Pirate Day.
9/23: Brother Ray Charles.
9/24: Jim Henson.
9/25: Christopher Reeve.
9/28: Brigitte Bardot.

I almost named this post "Barry, Barry and Barry," but the third musical Barry born in September is a little too obscure. Great trivia question, though.

See you in the Fall!

--The Ask.com Smart Answers Team

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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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