In a dramatic about-face, Ask.com is abandoning its effort to outshine Internet search leader Google Inc. and will instead focus on a narrower market consisting of married women looking for help managing their lives.
According to the article, Ask will now focus on finding answers to questions about recipes, hobbies, children’s homework and more, especially when asked by women in southern and midwestern US. At the same time, about 40 employees will be laid off.
Looks like at the moment, there are only 3 serious search engines left in the market – Google, Yahoo and MSN/ Live (though it wouldn’t surprise me too much if Live.com would “narrow its focus” too one of these days, perhaps becoming a men’s health tips, dating or sports results site).
[Thanks Brinke Guthrie!]
Update: Ask.com attacks the AP report as erroneous, saying while they realized they can’t be all things to all people and that they do indeed want to focus more on the aforementioned target group, they still don’t want to abandon existing users. [Thanks Ionut!]
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