Did you see this article today in the Wall Street Journal entitled IAC Will Rename Search Engine? You probably missed it, but it was a tombstone article for everyone's favorite other search site - Ask Jeeves.
The marketing geniuses at IAC/InterActiveCorp are renaming Ask Jeeves to Ask.com as part of a major advertising campaign to challenge Google and Yahoo. According to the article, Ask has a 6.3% of the search market and after what CEO Barry Diller described as, drastic changes on the site to reduce the clutter. I don't know about you folks, but making Jeeves the sacrificial butler seems like some CMO is pulling the wool over Barry Diller's eyes.
You see that 6% is actually pretty good figuring it is going up against Google, Yahoo, and MSN who probably together have about 90% of the search market. Plus, the loveable Jeeves is a welcome search partner who has been battling these big "rich" sites with alternative and some say better search results for a while. Why take down the biggest asset they have - the butler?
Hmmm. According to Mr. Diller, "It is not a winner-take-all, absolutist part of commerce and media. There will be many players with a cyclical and changing position of share and we're a worthy contender."
You know what friends, I agree, but why hamstring yourself without your biggest alley? Didn't last year's purchase of Ask Jeeves for $1.85 Billion include the services of the butler?
Looks like someone is following a standard marketing playbook. When all other marketing tactics don't work - rebrand the product. You can see it happening - first move it to Ask.com and then fire the butler. I think it is great that IAC is trying to boost share and market the service again, but who are you going to Ask for search help after February 27th? What are they planning on having as a float in next year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - a giant red question mark?
Welcome to the land of corporate layoffs, Jeeves, where the really good talent in the acquiree gets shown the door after being pledged a significant role in the new company. Hopefully, Jeeves will learn what I learned - it is better on your own.
BTW - I won't be able to post for a while because I won't have access to my PC or laptop. Look for a post after 2/18.