Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The woes of engine searching

The recent and perhaps sudden switch in strategy by Ask.com just proves how difficult it is to change, and to borrow the term used in their radio ads, ‘the status quo’.

I really like their “Ask and you will get” strategy but the current “The other search engine” just fall way short of the warmth and fun generated by such a great brand with a great name. I just felt that it is too familiar and generic, probably deliberately.

Ask.com is not alone. Every search engine is in the same predicament except the web monster we now know as Google. Strangely enough Google finds itself in the same boat in China which again proves how tough it is to change behaviour and norms.

Amazingly not a single person I spoke to over the weekend remember what search engines they were using pre-Google. Google only gained it’s dominance over the last 2 years so surely some of us must have relied on one of the search engines in the picture above.

I have fond memories of using Alta Vista and this other search engine named either ‘monster’ something or something ‘zilla’. It was the alternative and rebel of search engines then and appealed to us, teenagers, almost instantaneously, which is somewhat the current strategy of Ask.com.

The question is how do you make Ask.com (or any other search engines) cool and relevant?

For a start Ask.com should start a diploma/degree course in Internet research or something similar. Lessons should be fun and fulfilling, like putting students in foreign countries and giving them specific tasks.

Ask.com should then move on to create their own educational institutes.


Freddie & Hollie said...

I love the idea of Ask being an educational tool. How many people actually know how to 'search'. Using all the quote marks, negative/ positive signs and all that jazz? Hardly anyone me thinks. So just an instructional course on how to get the most out of the net would be a step in the right direction for them.

And on the side I really dislike their current campaign. They try to hide their identity once on the website but eventually you find out. They're buggerred either way with it.
I'm with you on the 'ask and you will get'.

Anonymous said...

that is a great idea! a campaign telling people how they can search properly.