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Thursday, March 6, 2008 Says They Don’t Want to Become Women’s Site

Yesterday an Associated Press report by Michael Liedtke stated that wants to “abandon” its effort to outshine Google in a “dramatic about-face,” instead focusing on “finding answers to basic questions about recipes, hobbies, children’s homework, entertainment and health” catering to “to married women primarily living in the southern and midwestern United States” (while laying off 8% of its employees).

Now, according to Forbes, an spokesperson says that “reports of the site becoming oriented towards older women are false and were fueled by an erroneous Associated Press article that has since been changed"*. According to Forbes, “even though the company plans on building on this user base it isn’t going to abandon other users in pursuit of it.”

However, Ask in their statements is also somewhat conflicting themselves – they told Search Engine Watch “We recognize that we can’t be all things to all people”. Not being all things to all people sounds exactly like they are abandoning other users in pursuit of optimizing for the US women target group, which Forbes say they won’t. And in all that, the question remains why people looking for recipes, entertainment and health should not just stick with Yahoo or Google, where they get a much better results scope and quality –’s “natural language searching for direct answers” argument was always a marketing spin, as they’re not really ahead of competition in this regard.

Whatever the case, I get the feeling that males with a fetish for scantily clad Dungeons & Dragons ladies – see’s old advertisement below – need to go look elsewhere in the future...

*Does anyone have a copy of AP’s alleged correction?

[Hat tip to Ionut Alex. Chitu and Kevin Fox.]


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